Book Review of “The Institute” Cont.


Book Review of “The Institute” Cont.

by Adam Huddleston

As I continue my journey through Stephen King’s “The Institute” I curiously notice that while the story itself is interesting, the characters are beginning to become rather stale.  Not only that, but there are (in my humble opinion) too many of them.  King has thrown together a motley crew of “good guys” and “bad guys” in the titular location, but the sheer number of them has made the plot rather confusing.  I’m having a hard time putting a face (and the person’s characteristics) to the name.

Overall, the tale is good.  King is at his best when he presents us with interesting, relatable protagonists and antagonists.  I’m looking forward to finishing the novel, I just feel that overall, he has stuffed it with too many characters.

Setting Writing Goals


Setting Writing Goals

by Adam Huddleston

Writing goals.

For some, they are a necessity.  For others, an impossibility.  I have never been a huge fan of setting a writing goal for myself.  Honestly, the only time I can remember doing so was when I attempted to write a novel during NANOWRIMO.  In order to attain the appropriate word count, a writer (especially one with a family and full-time job) must get a certain number of pages finished daily.

I tried.  Really, I did.  But for that particular event, the word count was just too high.  However, I do see the benefit of keeping oneself focused and setting goals can definitely help.  

Of course, there are other goals besides word count.  You can use page count, scene or chapter completion, or even writing time.  If you need better focus on the process of writing, try each of these to find what works best for you.

Happy writing!

Finding Time to Write


Finding Time to Write

By Adam Huddleston

One of the greatest barriers to an author is finding an appropriate time and place to write.  Our busy lives have us running all over creation running errands and seeing to the minutia of life.  Some writers require peace and quiet in order to crate.  Others can happily type away while the Apocalypse is happening all around them.

I’ve always felt deep inside that I leaned toward the former requirement.  I tend to be distracted rather easily and usually need quiet in order to write.  However, having a full-time job and being the father of five makes that extremely difficult.  Fortunately, since I basically stare at a computer monitor all day in the pharmacy, I am able to find time every once in awhile to jot down a few lines in Google docs.  From there, I can send them to myself or print them out if they’re complete.  

It may sound cliché, but every writer must find what environment works best for them.  I hope this blog helps in some small way.

Happy writing!

Finding Time to Write


Finding Time to Write

By Adam Huddleston

One of the greatest barriers to an author is finding an appropriate time and place to write.  Our busy lives have us running all over creation running errands and seeing to the minutia of life.  Some writers require peace and quiet in order to crate.  Others can happily type away while the Apocalypse is happening all around them.

I’ve always felt deep inside that I leaned toward the former requirement.  I tend to be distracted rather easily and usually need quiet in order to write.  However, having a full-time job and being the father of five makes that extremely difficult.  Fortunately, since I basically stare at a computer monitor all day in the pharmacy, I am able to find time every once in awhile to jot down a few lines in Google docs.  From there, I can send them to myself or print them out if they’re complete.  

It may sound cliché, but every writer must find what environment works best for them.  I hope this blog helps in some small way.

Happy writing!

More Idea Origins


More Idea Origins

by Adam Huddleston

As I’ve said before, I get a lot of my story ideas from places I’ve visited on while I’m on the road.  Other idea-starters are things that I hear.  

One of my favorite (unfinished) projects began years ago when one of my children wanted to play on my phone.  My wife told them they couldn’t because “Daddy’s battery is dead”.  She obviously meant my phone battery, but a story began to immediately gel in my brain about a future when all fathers are androids.  When said parental unit’s battery dies, the mother simply orders another from a catalog.  In this tale, the dying father unit’s artificial intelligence kicks in and he discovers that he doesn’t want to be replaced.  Thrills and violence galore.  

So, sometimes a truly interesting story can find its origins in a rather mundane statement.  A good writer will pay attention to everything around them and use their environment as inspiration.  

Happy writing!

Where Do Ideas Come From?


Where Do Ideas Come From?

by Adam Huddleston

Ah.  The ultimate question for all writers.  The granddaddy of them all.  Where do ideas come from?  Where can I go to get inspired to write?  How do the literary greats get their works started?

The answer, I suppose, differs from writer to writer.  In fact, I’m sure there are as many answers to that desperate question as there are writers in the world.  Where do I get my ideas from?  I’ll tell you.  But remember, this is coming from an author with only a handful (and small at that) of published works.

I get my ideas from what I see around me.  For example, although I eat better now, I used to spend quite a lot of time in fast food drive-thrus.  A few of my story starters arise from there.  Also, the eight-hour drive to visit family in east Texas (when the kiddos are actually quiet, and I can think straight) provides many opportunities to create story ideas.  I have two or three tales that center on interstate travel.  One about a ghost that haunts a specific exit ramp, the other about a man hired to clean off roadkill.  

Other ideas come from things I hear, whether while at work or from my family at home.  My next few blogs will center on those.

Happy writing!

Horror Story Settings


Horror Story Settings

by Adam Huddleston

Since today is Halloween, and I am a horror story fan at heart, I wanted to share I list of popular settings for scary tales.  I know most are cliché, but if you are interested in writing a horror story, some of these locations are probably going to end up in your work.  In no particular order:

Cemeteries

Haunted buildings

Forests

Rural location (cabin, farmhouse, etc.)

Hospitals/Asylums

Hotels/Motels

Schools

Amusement Parks

Open Water (oceans, seas, lakes, etc.)

Outer Space/Planets

Hope these help!  Happy writing!

World Building


Here’s a world building blog I posted on 4-30-15.  Enjoy!

 

World Building

by Adam Huddleston

 

For writers who set their stories in the world as it exists today or in the past, the concept of world building may not be quite as important as it is to folks like me; the fledgling sci-fi/fantasy author.  Real places with real people populate their work so they simply write what they know (or could find out through a basic internet search).  What happens when you want to set your story on the planet Xynon in the Gordita galaxy?  Or what if the country of your protagonist’s birth happens to be Fargan, where it rains peanut butter and jelly?

Mountains of books have been written on the subject of world building.  I would highly recommend “The Writer’s Digest Guide to Science Fiction and Fantasy” by Orson Scott Card, author of “Ender’s Game.”  He takes the major facets of world building chapter by chapter and explains them very well.

Once you get a feel for the different aspects: geography, peoples, history, religion, flora/fauna, etc. it is just a matter of developing them into a cohesive environment.  Generally speaking, the deeper you delve into each part of world-building, the richer your work will be.

Another bit of advice: If you are going to create something that does not exist in the real world, you must make it relatable to something that is.  What I mean is, the reader needs to be able to understand what it is they are reading about.  For example, if you say, “the warfle crawled along the ground” give a good description of it so the reader won’t be lost.

Along the same lines, use real adjectives and verbs.  Don’t say “the warfle cavadered along the sand.”  Your reader has no idea what “cavadered” means.  Just use crawled, slunk, etc.

Hopefully these suggestions will give you a jump-start in the practice of world-building.  Happy writing!

Settings in Science Fiction


Settings in Science Fiction

by Adam Huddleston

Last week I wrote about settings in the fantasy genre.  Creating a fantasy setting can be a huge undertaking.  When it comes to science fiction however, the approach to world building is a little different.

I would venture to say that most science fiction stories are set either in our world, or in what we know of outer space.  In these cases, the author doesn’t have to create a new setting, just assure that the elements of the setting are practical considering what we know.  In other words, the environment, peoples, flora/fauna, etc. of the story’s world may be our own.

It is perfectly acceptable to bend and stretch the natural laws of this world (it is fiction after all) but sci-fi still lives in a basis of reality.