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Nov. 11th, 2011


Originally published at Echoes of Madness. You can comment here or there.

In honor of this auspicious day, I'm creating all the documentation I can with today's date. This blog being no exception.

To add actual content to this abuse, here's my eleven-word story posted on Twitter using the #11Words hashtag:

He needed two shots to end his life. Whisky, then lead.

Are you on Twitter? Let me know so I can follow your 140-word diatribes too. :) My Twitter handle is @SA_Etter.


Sep. 8th, 2011

Blog Changes

Given the sporadic and uneven way I've been using this blog, I've decided to reboot it.

I started the blog more as a place to share personal writing progress, network with fellow writers, and talk shop. As time went on, I started feeling like the blog should be more, I don't know, meaningful. Like every post should be an essay of note.

But there are tons of writing blogs out there with better platforms, and with more frequency. So, I've decided to stop my half-assed attempt to write essays and just go back to posting what's on my mind and being informal. There may come a day where I chose a platform to promote, whether it's a personal position, theoretical novels, or what have you, but until then, this (quiet) blog is going back to its roots.

To reflect this reboot, I've retitled my blog Note to Self: I should be writing.

Because, well, I should be writing. ;)

Aug. 4th, 2011

Awesome Idea in Publishing

Originally published at Echoes of Madness. You can comment here or there.

I'm not even sure how a trail of links led me there, but Tobias Bucknell has assembled what I'd term the Justice League of SF Writers over at SFNovelists.com. In browsing around, I discovered a masterful marketing plan: twenty-five of their members have offered up their first chapters in a single free e-book. That's twenty-five free samples of books you may or may not have discovered. I see many familiar names, like Jim Hines, Carol Berg, and C.E. Murphy, but also some new names too.

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Jul. 27th, 2011

Genre Mash-up

Originally published at Echoes of Madness. You can comment here or there.

Ok, I confess. This post is about a movie that I absolute love, warts and all. It’s uneven at times, and has elements that stretch credibility, and gives characters sudden abilities not previously established or even hinted. For all of that, Brotherhood of the Wolf is a story that I wish I had written. It’s the ultimate mash-up of genres.

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Jun. 20th, 2011

Journey Versus Destination

Originally published at Echoes of Madness. You can comment here or there.

Some books I read for the story, or to put it differenty, for the destination. Others I read for the rich characters and the interpersonal drama. Once in a while, I find a book where I simply enjoy the prose, so the journey of reading becomes the highlight. Patrick Rothfuss' novels are perfect examples of the later, so much so that his blog is nearly as enjoyable as his books.

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May. 18th, 2011

Plan Your Big Mystery

Originally published at Echoes of Madness. You can comment here or there.

Back in 2001, I tuned in on the first episode of Alias by accident. At the time, I didn’t really watch any television on a regular basis. But for some reason, I had the TV on that Sunday night and was introduced to student/spy Sidney Bristow and the mystery around the Renaissance scientist/prophet named Riambaldi. I was hooked.

By 2004, I was a devoted JJ Abrams fan, and so tuned in for the first episode of Lost just because he was involved. I was immediately sucked in by the characters and the mystery of the Island.

I came to Battlestar Galactica late, but quickly became engrossed in the compelling characters and the questions behind the Cylons, “Head Six,” and eventually the Final Five.

All three of these shows had solid characterizations to support the framework behind their Big Mysteries. How and why their characters succeeded is a different post. What these shows also had in common was the writers introduced Big Mysteries without having a clue they would be resolved.

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Apr. 26th, 2011

Things I’ve Learned in Storytelling

One thing I tend to avoid on this blog (besides actually posting regularly…) is critical reviews of books or TV shows/movies. I tend to avoid rocking the boat that I hope to someday ride. I’d hate to give an author a pass based on a story that I feel failed in some way only to have that author be given my theoretical book in the future to review. Caution has made me keep my thoughts to myself.

However, I do spend a lot of time thinking about storytelling, and why some stories succeed or fail. The reasons often vary depending on the medium, but there are still some rules that extend across all delivery methods. Books require a different pace than TV, which requires a different pace than movies, but all rely on character and structure.

My goal in these “Things I’ve Learned” essays would be focused on just that. It can be a positive of what I could emulate or a negative in analyzing what could’ve been done better. Or a combination of the two, which is where most things lie. The intent would not be to offer recommendations, though I guess that would be apparent anyway.

If I started a weekly series about these observations, would you be interested? I know that my long bouts of silence here has let most of my readers drift away, but I’d like to change my blogging habits. Seeing that my writing updates are few and far between (as are my novel writing sessions these days), I’m trying to find a niche that might be interesting to someone other than me. :)

Mar. 3rd, 2011

Breaking the Blog Silence

Hi all. Yes, I’m still alive and kicking. I’m now an official Floridian and the new job is going well.

So, what prompts me to click “post an entry” after all this time?

Well, Dance of Dragons is finally coming out this summer. Really. It seems GRRM mistakenly said “six months” during his last author tour, when he meant “six years.” Don’t get me wrong. I’m thrilled that the book is coming out and that this means the series is moving along with some of my favorite characters taking the stage again (after 10 years), but I’m finding that I’m more jaded than excited.

My first thought as a reader was, “Great! Dance is coming out! Should I read it this summer or in a couple years so there’s a shorter gap until Wolves of Winter comes out?”
Yeah, I’m both excited and indifferent it seems.

I really didn’t mean for this to be the reason to return to the blog. Last week, I started drafting a series of topics I wanted to write about, hoping to start to be a regular poster again. The topics are related to my reaction to Dance’s upcoming release since they cover reader preferences for book series and how we as writers should plan for that.

Dec. 10th, 2010

Pushy Characters

Originally published at Echoes of Madness. You can comment here or there.

While I can usually keep my characters under control, occasionally I do have one or two who initially are only supposed to appear once, but instead keep walking back on stage like they belong. In the first incarnation of Echoes, I had one who tried to bend the entire story around him. When I rebooted the manuscript years ago and started over, he was tossed out. Too demanding.

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Nov. 12th, 2010

Back to the Drawing Board (Sort of)

Originally published at Echoes of Madness. You can comment here or there.

Yes, I know I stated a few months ago that writing on the long gestating The Condottiere was commencing. But the thing is, in the back of my head, I felt that Echoes of Truth was not quite ready to be in the query circuit. It wasn’t quite there. Feedback from beta readers and even my query pitch paragraphs were hitting on the same problem.

Part one of Echoes set up a false promise to readers.

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