Creativity = Insanity: scientific derailment

Before we delve into our topic, I just wanna wish all my Chinese friends and fans a Happy New Year.

To the rest of the world: go back to work. But listen to this first.

Recently I came across an article which suggested that creativity is linked to mental illness, saying that the same patters found in mentally ill patients are also mirrored by people in live in the arts or by any creative means.

So here are the 4 articles, in no particular order, that I reviewed: 1, 2, 3, 4

Now I am fully aware that there is some scientific merit, as well as a shitload more information than can be contained in 2 blogs, a journal and a Wikipedia article. But I have the attention span of a squirrel, and I wanted the voice recording to last 25 minutes rather than two hours. (You’re welcome)

In today’s episode, you hear me take the piss out of some of the material (the parts which are really dumb, and there are some, since all of this is speculative science and not hard proven). You will know this when I use my WTF voice – which is embarrassingly high-pitched almost to the point of gender bending.

Some parts do hit home though and I slowly let reality sink in – that is I am insane and have no hope of recovery.

Enjoy

Final note: Just wanna say thank you the Shannon for mentioning me on her latest blog post. Check out the wonder way she described reviewing the unpublished Legacy Book 2.

(Shannon, if you’re reading this, Thank you. Also I’m dying with anticipation over here. Please feel free to halt my slowly increasing heart attack at any point.)

That’s it for this week. Tune in next week for more fun,

Ryan

Snowflakes and Storytelling

Today I talk about the Snowflake Method, a system of progressive writing that starts off with that dreaded one line description and evolves into a how-many-thousands-of-words novel.

You can find the full list here at their website.

However, me, being the guy who can never follow a single bloody rule in his life even if to save his own sorry ass, often find myself using a deviation (i.e. shortened) version of the Snowflake Method. It is essentially the same thing, but I’m an eternal rebel so I take what I can get.

Here’s a brief list (in my own words, so don’t get on my ass) of the methodology:

1. sentence summary

2. paragraph

3. character storyline

4. large-scale novel structure

5. page description of characters

6. 4 page novel synopsis

7. character charts

8. list of scenes

9. paragraph for each of the scenes

10. first draft

As you can tell, this doesn’t happen in a week. Just the planning takes months. So I use a shortened version:

-question

-list of scenes

-add more scenes using ‘muse triggers’ (I explain what these are towards the end of part one)

- plot points

- novel-pounding time

See? quick and dirty (just the way I like it)

But enough of this. Here is me talking for 20 mins (a bit less cos I like you and my voice is torture) about the Snowflake Method and my variation.

But wait, there’s more.

Part 2 of this post deal with Script Writing and how the Snowflake Method applies to it too.

There are only 3 stages to writing a script:

- synopsis

-treatment

-draft

But I also talk about the minute differences that the writer has to keep in mind when writing something for TV. I’m not sure if it’s remnant anxiety or perhaps intuitive observation on my part, but the final part of this recording goes into a comparison in the technicality of scene setting, character profiles and even budget talk.

And because I’ve already submitted you to torture and am feeling particularly lenient today, Part 2 is only 9 minutes long.

 

 

thank you for listening. Tune in again next week.

I think it’s time for a funny one again, what do you think?

 

Going Postal

Hey Folks, today we’re flipping the table a little bit.

Well not literally, since I have no upper body strength to speak off (but I do have lower body strength . . . hear that, ladies?)

Today’s post has nothing to do with writing, for a change. Instead I go into an elaborate rant (35 mins) about the post office which happened to wake me up very early.

Then I critique some franchises, and express my anxiety with branching out into script writing.

The whole thing starts off somewhat mellow, but around the ten minute mark the coffee kicks in and the rage begins to seethe.

15 minutes in – I have to deal with a post office dude who woke me up and had the audacity to be angry and left the gate open.

Uh uh, dude.

Not happening.

After the rant, I go into an existential crisis, partly out of guilt and partly out of rage. (BDW the way I’m looking for is “considerate” but I couldn’t remember it)

Then I get somewhat physical with the idea of a paperback novel and talk about my two online courses which I’m taking. One of which is script-writing.

And I talk about my apprehension with branching out.

Dreams and ideas come up (as well as author Shannon Thompson – whose the only other dreamwhisperer I know), as well as Marvel Villains.

As for my comment about AEC Stellar – I just received confirmation today (although I can’t share anything because it’s intellectual property and I have a shock collar around me) that AEC is my best choice for the seconds series. They are pros, I truly believe that. I think I was lucky enough to stumble into people who know what they are doing and I wanna stick with them.

Towards the end, I forget that I opened the show with a promo so I kinda repeat it (whoopsie – sorry).

Then I run out of steam, the coffee dies, I hit a wave of beautiful poetry, comment on it and make it shit, . .

and then I kill the show very awkwardly (as one should end things)

(I may have some editing issues here, but I’m using you as Guinea pigs. If you detect anything just let me know)

Enjoy.

PS – sorry for the cheesy title (but you really should have seen this coming)

PSS – my accent is annoying. I may need some getting used to.

When Stars Die: why you should read this book

Hey guys.

Before we start, here’s a promo:

OK onto the rest of the post. Today I wanted to talk to you about a certain book entitled When Stars Die, written by fellow AEC Stellar member Amber Forbes.

Here’s the cover:

41D1MsF2O1L

See how pretty that is? Those green eyes, man.

OK come back here Ryan.

So, I was asked to review this book way back and I didn’t wanna do it – because this is romance and SO out of my comfort zone. But a few weeks ago I decided to give it another shot and boy was it worthwhile.

So here’s my official review on amazon and the rest:

This story is a roller coaster of emotion and some very dark themes, coupled with fantasy fire fighting (who doesn’t like that?) and intricate language. The setting reminds me of a dystopia mashed with urban fantasy, with well built characters and some unique personalities. We later find out why certain characters act the way they do, but I’m not going to spoil anything.

One point that I like as a writer myself is the world-building here, specifically the Shadowmen characters. It’s been ages since I read about a species that worked so well with the titular species of the main character: witches. It shows that Forbes didn’t just throw this book together, but spent months, possibly years planning this story. It paid off, and I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys quality literature.

I would also like the add that the ending is one of the most controversial and difficult endings to pull off in literature. The fact that Amber managed this, made it look easy, and left me waiting impatiently for the sequel, is testimony of this author’s talent.”

I gave it 4 stars.

And I have to justify that – I gave it 4 stars because of the genre. I don’t like the genre, so I had no baseline with which to compare the material. I had to force myself to keep reading this on particular chapter, simply because it was very emotional and I just don’t like that. So the mere fact that it was romance prevented me from giving it a full 5 star.

Cos here’s the thing: I’m not gonna give something 5 stars simply because I know the person. That’s just unprofessional.

However I am not willing to rate something that is less than 3 stars. There’s this thing called an average rating and I’m not going to be the one that shits on it simply because I can’t read a tagline or a few key words.

So if I’m gonna review something, it’s gonna be more than 3 stars, but it will be an honest review.

When Stars Die had some very good points which earned it a 4 star review. But I’m not gonna write them down. Instead I’m gonna TELL you.

Just an addendum to that. I did finish the book, and it turns out that the last 2 chapters I had left where THE MOST AWESOME BITS IN THE ENTIRE DAMN THING.

I can’t spoil the ending – but I can say this: it’s a very difficult move to pull off, one that is highly criticized and can very easily go wring. Amber pulled it off marvelously and just blow my mind.

I don’t say this about a lot of author but I do think, after reading that, that Amber has what it takes to be a Best Selling Author. I don’t know if that will happen with this book, but I know it will happen someday.

Amber is a great gal and you can find her on Facebook, Twitter, her Blog and site.

I think that about wraps things up. Let me know if you like the new voice – writing format, or if I should make up my mind and just stick to one.

Great job Amber, can’t wait for the next one.

Go visit that new AEC Stellar site. Click me

OK. We’re leaving now.

Till next time folks,

Peace out.

New Year, Reviews and Voices

What’s up Guys?

Happy New year to all. Anyone have any interesting new vows? I don’t bother making any, knowing full well I will not keep any of them. I mean, seriously people, I couldn’t even keep my vow to take a damn break and not write until January. I finished Book 2 on the 24th and by the 30th I was writing again.

I think I finally have it figured out. I think it’s a form of depression – where only by mentally migrating to another world do I make sense of the salubrious, clusterfuck that this reality has become for me.

Or maybe I’m just addicted to writing. Yeah let’s go with that.

And on that note (there really is no way to segue from depression is there?) here are some reviews you guys posted. I really am glad and humbled by these. I like giving shout-outs to people who deserve it, and whoever reviews does deserve a shout-out.

so here we go:

This one is from Patrick Stutzman:

A beautiful blend of urban fantasy, detective pulp fiction, and action movie goodness! Firstborn brings together all the elements you would expect to see in an urban fantasy novel and more. With a few plot twists along the way to make things even more interesting, I was hard-pressed to put it down to go to work. If his future books are anything like this one, I’ll keep coming back for more.”

YES!!

Read that first sentence again – that’s what made me happy. Those are all the elements that I want to bring along in Firstborn (the entire Legacy series in fact). Thank you Patrick. I met this guy back when we both were submitting snippets on Sci-Fi Fantasy Saturday (sffsat.com) and I can say I’ve always enjoyed his pieces (along with some others like TK Toppin who you guys met in my release party).

Oh man, that line made me so happy.

This next one is from Joe Hinojosa:

Let me first say that I was skeptical when I began to read this book. My chief problem was that the book is a story about wizards and the supernatural. Mix in a few demons and angels, and it easily could have become a joke. The risk in dealing with magic is that it’s all too easy to turn to the magical arts as a method to solve a problematic scene.

Happily, my worries were quickly put to rest. He not only created a universe, populating it with a rich assortment of characters, but he wrote in constraints to the use of magic, rules which helped him create a believable world. I had no trouble in envisioning it.

The actual review is a page long, where Joe gives quite a good summary of the novel, so I decided to skip that. Go read it on amazon and click the ‘yes’ button on the helpful section. Now to the review – Yes, Joe this could have become a joke. Sometimes in my head it’s still a joke, but then I read that review and I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Yes, the topic of magic is very tricky to handle especially with the increased popularity and everyone striving for originality.

However, that last line is the best praise you could have given me. When authors want to build worlds they don’t want to just explain it to the reader. We want you to be a part of that world, to live there for how long the story lasts and then some. We want you to dream of being a part of our world – and that’s how that world becomes real.

For the sake of honesty now, Joe also had some criticism – He liked the dialogue and story tension but some of

The jokes could be a little corny at times, but Erik as the narrator seemed to acknowledge it with a wink. Sometimes it became a little to self-referential for my taste. Other than that minor issue, I only have great things to say. Firstborn truly was an enjoyable read. This book is one of my favorites that I have reviewed so far. Since this is the first of a series, we can look forward to the next installment, one that I hope will not be delayed for too long.

See guys? That’s called constructive criticism – where you gently point out an issue and look at it objectively. He didn’t like some jokes – but that didn’t stop him from enjoying a good book.

Thank you Joe. That is how you write a cool review.

Here’s why I bring up criticism. My first ever review back when I was self-published, was a one star review by some troll who read the FREE SAMPLE online. Thankfully AEC removed it but I can still remember feeling like utter shit when I was reading it.

I mean, why do that? What possible pleasure could one gain from that? Thankfully I got 4 star reviews after that which is pretty cool. And I learnt fairly early to develop a tough skin.

But today I stumbled upon this gem:

This reads like it was written by a fifteen year old who read a few magic books. The use of written dialect makes no sense with the location and it makes the dialog hard to follow. Glad it was free.”

This is a review for Dread Night on Barnes and Noble, and Of course, it’s by Anonymous.

Here’s my issue with trolls – they rarely make sense.

The dialect doesn’t make sense? Are you serious?

Do people from California speak a different language than plain English? Are you all from another planet with a secret form of communication I haven’t decoded yet?

And I am mentally twelve, so calling me fifteen is a win for me. But I’m not gonna argue with retards. you know what Mr. Anonymous – thank you for the download. Good luck with the rest of your life and if you meet anyone from Eureka, CA, enjoy the communication enlightenment.

And here’s why I’m not pissed off:

Gregory Lamb: “In this short novella, readers will enjoy Attard’s sense of humor and his grasp of the young adult genre. Well worth the $.99 for a quick romp with a few spooky kids who shouldn’t have been playing with magic in the first place.”

Claire: “A great short story and prequel to firstborn. The characters are so likable in their own unique and twisted personalities. Not to mention Ryan Attard’s sense of humour and sarcasm throughout the book. “

Those are from Goodreads by the way. Thank you Greg and Claire. I agree completely with what you said. (hehe)

OK back to Firstborn.

More more more, more Reviews.

PDX Author (that’s a sexy name bdw) says:

Fans of the fantasy genre are going to love Attard’s refreshing sense of humor. The dialog is snappy and contemporary with a cast of characters readers will enjoy meeting”

Then after a brief paragraph about the story itself he continues with some criticism:

I thought “First Born” was a fun read, generally well crafted with a fast moving plot. I wouldn’t recommend it for young teens due to some of the language content. Unfortunately there were a number of copy edit errors. Though the typo errors didn’t distract me from the fun of the story, some readers may not want to read the other books planned for this series. I’m not going to let that hold me back though, I’m looking forward to reading more from this young creative author.”

Well, Greg, I wouldn’t recommend it to young people either. Let them enjoy their innocence from me for a while longer.

Yes, there are few typos. They are few and far between (maybe ten in total?) which by the time we caught them, it was too late. Unfortunately even big companies (Penguin) do produce works with typos, but this is no excuse. This is my first novel – I will personally make sure that the second one and any work subsequent to that will be devoid of typos and any other errors.

But guys, this is where I like Greg – read that last line. It’s not that he called me young and creative (which I am, but I have to act modest so hush up), but it’s that he is cool enough not to let an honest mistake stop him from enjoying the story.

Oh and Greg is PROFESSIONAL reviewer. (Take that and suck it Anonymous).

Thank you Greg for your kind words.

This next one comes from another author I met on SFFsat.

Sadie Forsythe: “The story is really interesting and after the first couple of chapters Erik and his familiar are really likeable characters. They are witty and sarcastic, often throwing scathing one-liners at each other to dissipate tension. There are any number of laugh out loud moments. Erik is also dedicated to helping those unable to help themselves. You have to appreciate that.

I suspect that there are going to be a lot of books in this series, probably seven if I had my guess. So there is plenty of time for the plot to progress and characters to carve their own niche. This one took a couple of chapters to settle, but rolled along nicely after that.”

This review is from the first edition of Firstborn, which is no longer available. There were considerable errors in that version, which when AEC signed me over, made sure I corrected.

But the review is nonetheless applicable. I can assure you that the characters are now likable from the start (or maybe you’ll hate them – what am I, a prophet?)

Sadie comments on one-liners and sarcasm, which hasn’t changed. Thank you Sadie, this review was one I always went back to when I was still lost and thinking I should quit writing. Your kind words helped me keep trying and eventually get signed by AEC Stellar.

PS. I am aiming for 13 book, not 7.

This last one is from T.K. Toppin.

The story moved at a fast pace and was filled with some interesting demons and some eye-opening action scenes that made me wonder if Erik would survive ‘this round’ of excitement. I look forward to the next tale as I’m sure this is not the last for Erik and his companions.”

I met TK on SFFSat and am a huge fan of her Marlin series. Whilst this is a review for the older version of Firstborn, I hold it in a special place in my heart. I consider TK a friend, so much that I entrusted her to read Book 2 even before I turned it in to my manager at AEC Stellar. She is the only person on this planet who read that manuscript after I was done with it.

And now: I have a bit of news. I am considering changing a few things with the blog. I’m not a blogger, as much as I would like to be. So I’m gonna try an experiment.

(This may freak you out)