Genres Are Boring

Every fantasy story includes elves, dwarves, and magic. Every sci-fi has starships and FTL. Romance is so overly troped that there is a formula that must be followed or your book is thrown against the wall or DVD shutoff. These genres, all based on a touchstone work that kicked the genre off, have become boring and predictable.

It’s like how comic books in the ’90s were full of Wolverine and Superman copycats. The original was fun and exciting, the copycats, less so.

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Everyone Has a Story to Tell

Patterson, Tolkien, King, it’s assumed that if you read, you read names like these. They’re great writers, to be sure –– dominant forces in their genres. But everyone has a story to tell.

Book Snobs

Haughty readers almost turned me off of writing in high school. I handed a short story to a teacher and mentioned how much I thought she would like it.

“Who wrote this?” She asked.
“I did,” I said.

She took the paper. Three days

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The Gift of Empathy

Everyone has a gift, maybe two. Whether inherited from, or ingrained by, a parent, or a defensive mechanism you’ve adapted over the years, this gift is something that defines you, even if you don’t know what it is. My gift is empathy. I got it from my mother.

Empathy is a gift of understanding and sharing the emotions of others. When I see someone going through something, I can put myself in their shoes and have a good understanding of

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No Plan Survives Contact with the Enemy

Enemies are everywhere, and they don’t always carry a sword. Deadlines can be enemies. So can big projects. Birthday parties. Books…roleplaying game sessions. And let’s not forget about actual ruffians who want to cause you harm. A plan of attack can help you in your endless struggle, but don’t over plan. No plan survives contact with the enemy.

The only books and games I’ve ever finished had only the barest of outlines. Jadepunk had chapter headings, plus a

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A Case for Daggers

Swords are the most ubiquitous weapon in all fiction, and they set the standard for damage values in just about any roleplaying game. Axes are often comparable, though usually tweaked for no other reason than to be different from swords. And spears are like swords, only longer. But what about the dagger? They’re deadly, and there are no degrees of dead.

Daggers have historically killed at least as many people as the sword, are the favorite weapons of assassins ––

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Travel via Conversation

As much as I love to hate it, living in Las Vegas has its perks. One of them is how much access we have to other cultures. There’s so much to learn if you have the people skills for good conversation. That makes date nights more varied than cruising down to the local Applebee’s.

A Night of Good Conversation

Last night, I took my wife to Tivoli Village, a nice area of town that houses a sweet little place called

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Dealing with Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is a terrible thing. You have something to say, but you don’t know what it is, not really. Or you know what you want to say, but believe it’ll suck.

I’ve noticed that writer’s block comes in two forms.

1. Lack of Focus

This one hits me less often than the other. A lack of focus is not having a clear understanding of what you want to say. Maybe you want to write science fiction, but beyond “my

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Lessons From My Subconscious

I’ve never been into the idea that dreams are prophetic, or that they mean something. There are a lot of things I chalk up to supernatural occurrence. But dreams? My take is a little more mundane –– nothing more than your subconscious processing itself. Maybe…maybe…I’d go so far as to say your dreams are your subconscious’ attempt to make sense of the world you lived in during the previous day…maybe. The only reason I’m willing to go that far is

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Express, Don’t Impress

Everyone has critics, and people they want to impress. If you’re human, it’s unavoidable, unless you just don’t care about what other people think. I care. When people are overly critical of me, it makes me take a second look at myself. If someone pays me a compliment, I’m grateful for it. Sometimes, I’ll admit, I go out of my way to get one of those compliments. We all do it, so I don’t think it’s necessarily bad unless it becomes

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Achievement Unlocked: My First Completed Premise

If real life was an X-Box, the words “Achievement Unlocked” just popped up on the bottom of my screen. Most people might call it a synopsis, but at twelve pages I think it’s outside that territory. But it’s also not an outline, as it’s missing scenes. The people behind Avatar: The Last Airbender call what I wrote a “premise” so I’m going to do the same.

A premise, in this case, is the main story, narratively described. The main idea, if you

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