Category: The Writer

Daniel Keyes died on June 15. Keyes is best known for his short story “Flowers for Algernon”, which won the Hugo Award, and its expansion, the Nebula Award-winning novel of the same title.

A few years ago I read his memoir “Algernon, Charlie and I: A Writer’s Journey”. A great read.

Rest in peace, Mr. Keyes. Thank you for “Flowers for Algernon”, my favorite science fiction novel.


Goodbye, dear story

After reading it a hundredth time and making some last minute revisions, I clicked the ‘send’ button and submitted my latest short story to a magazine. Good bye, dear story. It’s time for you to fly on your own. My fingers are crossed. I hope you will fly high…

When I write a story, I never consider it finished. There’s always a sentence I can improve, a word I can replace with a better one. If I wanted, I could continue polishing it forever. But there comes a time when you know you have to let it go…

I feel relieved.

Now, it’s time to channel my creative energy on a new short story!

Brain dead…

I’ve been quiet on my blog the past week or so. Reason: I’ve been brain dead at the writing level. The short story I am currently working on is testing both my patience and my writing skills. I needed a little break from it. I am convinced it will be a great story; this is why I need to persevere through this thick writing fog!

Performing CPR on my short story

Since my last post, I think I may have found what doesn’t work with the short story I am currently working on.

  1. I need to do research on a specific aspect of my storyline. If I don’t fully understand the basics of this particular aspect, my story won’t fly.
  2. I ‘m considering changing the setting (where the main action takes place) and also change one of the main characters. My initial idea will still work, and by making these changes I believe the ‘surprise effect ‘ at the end of the story will have a greater impact on the reader. Although my current draft is unfinished, I will be able to salvage a good chunk of if and reuse it in the revamped version of my story.
  3. I will update the abbreviated outline I wrote last week with my new ideas and I won’t begin work on the revamped story until I give myself the green light to go!

On a side note, within the last few months, I’ve been listening to author K.M. Weiland’s podcasts. They are awesome. If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to visit her website Helping Writers Become Authors; it is filled with excellent information and tips on how to improve your craft. While I am stuck in my current predicament with my short story, I listened to her podcast “Sticking With a Story”. It reassured me. I want my story to start breathing again, so I will continue performing CPR on it!

The last part of her podcast struck me:
“Allowing our impatience, frustration, and artistic insecurities to convince us we’re wasting our time is far too tempting an escape. But don’t give in. Don’t abandon a story just because it isn’t working. Stories never work in the first draft. But if we’re willing to stick with a story and resist the urge to let go when the going gets tough, we’re likely to discover that we possess one of the most important traits of any artist: perseverance.”
Nicely said!

Although my story outline was clear in my mind at the beginning, I am hitting road bumps as I write my first short story this year. I can’t pinpoint accurately what is wrong with it, but there is definitely something stuck in the gears somewhere. It would be so easy at this point to simply put this unfinished story aside and begin working on another project. But I won’t do that. This particular story is haunting me, challenging me. Guess what: I like a good challenge. The more difficult it becomes, the more I like it.

In an attempt to resolve the issue, I took some time last week to write a short abbreviated outline of my story. This exercise forced me to make some adjustments. One significant change was to rewrite the beginning of the story. This made me realize one thing: if I don’t like the first 2-3 sentences of my story, in other words, if I don’t get ‘hooked’ myself, then the momentum doesn’t build up as I write further.

Stay tuned for my next post, I will no doubt have more to say about my current short story in progress.

Learning to write as the bullets fly

Yep. The holidays came to an end and I had to get back to work on Monday. It wasn’t easy getting back into the usual daily routine. Trying to reorganize my daily schedule to make some time to write was even harder. I struggled, but I didn’t give up. I realized one inevitable fact: I must learn to write as the bullets fly (reference: Jessica Strawser’s article “MAKE YOUR WRITING TIME MATTER”, Writer’s Digest Magazine). I carry my iPod everywhere I go… and I write when I can. One sentence at a time. It’s a slow process, but it’s better than nothing. I also downloaded an App on my iPod to help me keep track on my mini writing sessions. So far in the new year, I have clocked 3 hours and 15 minutes of writing time. Mostly in sessions of 15 minutes. The longest session was 1 hour. Compared to 0 minutes, that’s great, isn’t it? Anyhow, the short story I’m currently working on is coming along. Slowly. But it’s coming along.

Quote of the day

Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he’ll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer.
– Ray Bradbury

Hello 2014

Here it is. 2014. Earlier tonight I went for a walk with Fred (my dog). Brrr. It’s -26 degrees Celcius outside. Yeah, it’s cold here in Gatineau, Quebec.

All of our Christmas and New Year celebrations are now over. It was fun. We saw family members and friends, drank wine, but what did most was… eat. I’m stuffed. Really. My meals for the next few days will be light.

The holidays are almost over. We will now slip back into our usual routine (I go back to work this Friday — sniff, sniff). My first challenge? Reorganize my daily schedule to make time to write (Hey, I’m already working on it — this is my second blog post in only a few days!)

Have you put some thought in your 2014 writing resolutions? If you haven’t, take a peak at author K.M.Weiland’s latest blog post 10 Easy Writing Resolutions for 2014. My eye caught Resolution #9 – Stop calling myself an “aspiring” author. Hum. I guess I should revise the title of my previous blog post (Re: My objectives for 2014 (as an aspiring author)!

To all writers and authors out there, I wish you a fruitful 2014!

My objectives for 2014 (as an aspiring author)

Let’s begin with the facts. When I was a teenager, I enjoyed reading a lot. I also enjoyed writing. At the time, I wrote several stories, most of which where silly or humorous, or both. I’ve always enjoyed walking into a bookstore (I bought many books since my teenage years, mostly novels). And back in those days, I had a dream. Very often I would tell myself that one day, I would write a novel. One day…

And then life went on. I finished my studies and became a civil engineer. I started working full time. I met my wife. We got married, bought a house and had children. And life continued. Time passed. Then, in 2011, my wife and I went to see a movie: The Adjustment Bureau (with Matt Damon and Emily Blunt). I really liked it. While reading the movie magazine, I found out that the movie was based on a short story written by Philip K. Dick. I also found out that other science fiction movies (which I had enjoyed a lot) were also based on other short stories from the same author (Minority Report, Total Recall). The following days, I did some research on Philip K. Dick. Shortly after I walked into a bookstore and bought one of Dick’s most acclaimed novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (I later found out that the classic science fiction movie Blade Runner was adapted from that novel). I read it and I enjoyed it very much. Basically, this is was what I needed to get back on track with my love of reading (I’ve always enjoyed science fiction, so it wasn’t too hard) and also with my passion of writing. My dream of writing a novel had resurrected.

What have I accomplished as a writer within the last 2 years? Well, I decided to start writing again. I participated in the first two editions of a local short story contest and two of my short stories (written in French) have been chosen and published. It’s a good start. These are my first two official publications. But aside from that, what have I done? Not much. I wrote a few other short stories (which I self published). It would seem I need some kind of deadline (pressure) to get behind the keyboard on a regular basis (just like the deadlines to submit my stories for the short story contests). I have to be honest here: I lack discipline. I procrastinate. In 2014, I plan to do something about it. I turned forty last October. My dream of writing a novel is still very much alive inside me. I am determined to make it happen.

It’s time to get serious.

Here are my objectives for 2014:
• Write 5 new short stories;
• Write one post per week about my writing;
• Read 5 novels;
• Read 1 book on the craft of writing.

Now, the biggest challenge I face is reorganizing my schedule to make time for writing (and reading!)

I can do it.

EndersGame_poster The movie adapatation of Orson Scott Card’s novel “Ender’s Game” is coming to the big screen on November 1st, 2013. I had not yet read the book and I wanted to do so before watching the film. It’s a good thing I did because I really enjoyed it!

Aliens have attacked Earth twice and almost destroyed the human species. To make sure humans win the next encounter, the world government has taken to breeding military geniuses–and then training them in the arts of war… The early training, not surprisingly, takes the form of ‘games’… Ender Wiggin is a genius among geniuses; he wins all the games… He is smart enough to know that time is running out. But is he smart enough to save the planet?

This novel won both Hugo and Nebula awards.

Here is an excerpt I really like from chapter 14 – Ender’s Teacher
“I am your enemy, the first one you’ve ever had who was smarter than you. There is no teacher but the enemy. No one but the enemy will tell you what the enemy is going to do. No one but the enemy will ever teach you how to destroy and conquer. Only the enemy shows you where you are weak. Only the enemy tells you where he is strong. And the rules of the game are that you can do to him and what you can stop him from doing to you. I am your enemy from now on. From now on I am your teacher.”

I’m looking forward to seeing the movie. Below are the links to see the movie trailers. Enjoy!

Ender’s Game (2013) – Trailer

Ender’s Game (2013) – “Mazer Rackham’s Run” – Official Film Clip

Ender’s Game (2013) – Final Trailer – Official