Monday, December 31, 2007

Auld Lang Syne

kisses at midnight
champagne and resolutions
beneath fireworks

Happy 2008!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Try seeing things from my side.

Short and simple: there are two main types of narrators. One is the first-person narrator, who tells his/her own story, supposedly speaking directly to the reader/viewer. The other is the omniscient third-person narrator, who does not actively take part in the story, but acts as a detached observer. There are all kinds of variations, but these two are the most common. I’ve noticed that many writers – including myself – have a natural tendency toward some form of narration. A story can be told in many different ways, but out of habit, we avoid exploring other possibilities.

First-Person Narrator. Usually the most appealing to write because of being able to address the reader directly. Main advantage: direct access to what the character thinks and feels, and in the character’s own words. Main disadvantage: the character does not logically have direct access to the other character’s thoughts and feelings, which means the character’s information and thus the story’s point of view is automatically limited. The usual solution for this is simply to have the character say, “I could see they thought…”, “I suppose she wanted…”, and so on. After all, people do this all the time in real life, so it doesn’t stretch credibility. Another typical solution is to have the character narrate in retrospect, like, “Later I found out that…” There’s also the good old Eavesdropping Device, wherein a character gains information they wouldn’t normally have by overhearing it. I’d also put in this category The Note They Weren’t Supposed to Find, etc. These last two options, while possible, are not always plausible – especially if used more than once in the same story – so they should be used sparingly.

Multiple First-Person Narrators. Another solution for widening the story’s scope. Added advantage: lets you portray the same characters from conflicting points of view and tell different versions of the same events. Main disadvantage: it can be hard enough handling one storyteller and one story, so multiple ones and multiple stories increase the probability of losing your focus.

Stream-of-Consciousness. Technically, this is as first-person as you can get, because the general idea is to feel like you’re inside the character’s brain, getting a more or less unedited look at the world through their eyes. You can jump from character to character, even to utterly marginal figures, and get as wide a scope as you choose. Disadvantage: hard to write and hard to read as well.

Secondary/Marginal Character as First-Person Narrator. Yet another solution for giving the story broader perspective. There’s no law that says the main character absolutely has to narrate. Advantage: inside information, a kind of double-agent – part of the story, yet can function as a detached observer. Disadvantage: honestly, I can’t think of anything. I suppose this type can be considered to have the best of both worlds.

But whichever form of first-person narrator, the language should reflect the character in terms of personality traits, interests, intelligence, education, profession, past experience, etc. Not everyone speaks in well-turned phrases or flowery figurative language. Furthermore, different people notice and are concerned with different things. You have to remember that a first-person narrator isn’t simply describing the events, but describing them in his or her own way.

Omniscient Third-Person Narrator. Knows everything and everyone. Comes in two varieties: partial and impartial. A partial one informs the readers who they’re supposed to like/dislike or what they’re supposed to think, whereas an impartial one supposedly tells the story objectively. In both cases, the obvious advantage is absolute authority (mwah ha ha) over the story, as well as being able to constantly change point of view. The main disadvantage is a kind of detachment from the events and characters. For all the knowledge and authority of a third-person narrator, the first-person “I” gives an immediate, personal impression. It’s the same as describing what happened to someone else as opposed to what happened to you. I’d also say that when you use a third-person narrator, particularly a partial one, it is very easy to get side-tracked in musings which, though perhaps relevant to the issue, belong in an essay. Third-person narrators can also be obtrusive, halting dialogue and scenes for information that can be concluded just as well from what the characters are saying and doing.

Mix-and-Match. There’s no law that says you can’t combine narrators, especially if your story is structured as separate parts, such as frame story and embedded story. However, if you keep changing narrators, your writing will probably be incoherent.

Since I’ve been told my posts can get a little too long for comfort, I’ll post more about this next Saturday, even though there isn’t supposed to be a Tech post. The focus will be screenwriting, since the option of dispensing with the narrator means there are different possibilities to explore.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Funny Face

Audrey is funny?
surely you mean like "ha ha"
or you need glasses

Monday, December 24, 2007

Fred Astaire

*tap* how *spin* does *tap*
*spin* he *spin* not *spin* get *spin*
*spin* dizzy? *spin* *tap*

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Lady of True Love

Rachel Riddle’s Exclusive Celebrity Interview with Princess Buttercup

The hype was not wrong. I can confidently tell you that I spent an entire day with the Most Beautiful Woman in the World. Sure, I scoffed like everyone, but when I was introduced to Her Grace, the Princess of Hammersmith, former fiancée of Crown Prince Humperdinck of Florin, I found myself gaping like a shopaholic at a shoe sale in Manhattan. Hair the color of Autumn, and skin like wintry cream… wrote William Goldman, her biographer, and that’s only the beginning.

For the record: I spent several hours trying to somehow describe the rest, but it read like some strange shopping list compiled from scouring magazines in search of perfect physical traits. Fortunately there are a few pictures. Her (Former) Royal Highness kindly agreed to be photographed, although refusing to do a full-fledged photo shoot. Our photographer, JJ, took said pictures, and even though we both agreed they were lovely, you could see he was not happy with the results. There was nothing wrong with them, but he seemed to feel as if he had failed to capture the autumn and cream qualities.

Her famous skin, by the way, is actually a gorgeous bronze at the moment, and her hair is a lot closer to summer, the consequence of vacationing in the Caribbean with her husband Westley, once known as the Dread Pirate Roberts. Buttercup’s hubby was nowhere in sight all during our interview. The princess said he was out fishing, but later she admitted he was keeping away from the interview on purpose. “My sweet Westley,” she sighs happily, “he hates being interviewed.”

Before we met – before I was even allowed in the room – I was practically strip-searched by the Princess’s personal bodyguards, Inigo Montoya, a dashing Spaniard, and Fezzik, an intimidating but endearing giant. “We are taking no chances.” Montoya tells me. “You journalistas are an unpredictable lot.”
“The last one got himself… in a tight spot.” Fezzik chimes in.
“Almost harmed… the Princess.”
“So we left him… quite a mess.”
The two slap each other on the back affectionately. Neither speaks much, but when they do, they usually end up in this sort of rhyming dialogue, like two Shakespearean fools, who could kill you in about three seconds flat. So much for the comic relief.

Determined harmless, I am ushered into a kind of makeshift drawing room where I try to wait patiently to see this glorious beauty. Her fame is not solely based on her beauty or former fiancé; Buttercup is also a world-class philanthropist, active on behalf of many causes, from the environment to the homeless. But you won’t catch her at charity galas – notoriously shy, she has few acquaintances and even fewer friends. Not that she needs them. Her name is enough to get anything, there is so much mystique. So many questions, so little likelihood I’ll get any answers. But she agreed to do the interview and agreed to let me tag along with her the entire day, so I decide to be hopeful.

“Rise please. The princesa she is coming.” Montoya tells me. I stand up, inwardly contemplating whether I am supposed to curtsey, and how offensive it will be if I don’t. I have always considered myself well-mannered, but I have my limits. At last the princesa enters and I utterly blank for a moment as a sun goddess flashes her radiant smile at me and warmly shakes my hand. Like emerging from a cave into broad daylight, my eyes gradually adjust and I manage to focus: long, loose hair – a strand of coral beads – a plain white sundress – bare feet – no make-up.

With the grace of a ballerina, she lowers herself into a chair. I thank her for agreeing to the interview. “My pleasure,” she answers calmly. Montoya casually strolls off to the window, I suppose to give a vague illusion of privacy. Fezzik stands guard outside the door. JJ is at the beach, waiting patiently for us to arrive in about an hour. With her eyes fixed on me and the room’s silence, it seems like an ocean of time.

How should I begin? Humperdinck? Too tactless. Charity? Too serious. I go for ultra-polite: I’m thrilled to finally meet you.
“You’re very kind.”
Not at all, you’re one of the most intriguing people of our time.
She shrugs a little. “I’m just like everyone else.”
Miraculously I manage to keep a straight face. After the interview, we’re supposed to meet the photographer, I say.
“Oh,” she says, suddenly very serious, “Will you need me to change clothing for that? Something formal?”
The Princess of Hammersmith asking me if she needs to look formal. This is a moment to cherish. What you’re wearing is lovely, I smile. I’m sure our readers would prefer seeing Buttercup, rather than Princess Buttercup.
She gives that little shrug again, “I suppose you mean what I’m like every day, but there’s no difference. That is, of course I dress differently, but whether I’m wearing a gown and a tiara or a plain dress like this, I’m still a simple country girl. I’m not ashamed of milking cows.”

She has always preferred a simple life, even during her engagement to Humperdinck. “Court life bored me.” Buttercup reveals. “I hated changing my clothes ten times a day and wearing so much jewelry.” While many have applauded her decision to rebel against the decorative role that fortune bestowed upon her, others have called it shameless self-indulgence. Granted, many of these critical voices are Florinese, who relate to the Princess’s rejection of Humperdinck as a matter of national solidarity, but as a loyal supporter points out, “Buttercup herself is Florinese. She rejected the man himself, not her own country.”

People on both sides claim Humperdinck brought rejection and subsequent humiliation upon himself. Allegedly, when he courted Buttercup, she was grieving for Westley, then presumed dead. There were no declarations or illusions of love – Humperdinck’s proposal was purely political, or, as other Florinese political commentators have called it, a matter of public relations. Humperdinck himself refuses to comment on the Princess in any medium. Rumor has it she is not even mentioned behind the palace walls. The Prince is supposedly in negotiations with Guilder, Florin’s hostile neighbor, to form an alliance with Princess Noreena, sole offspring of the Guilderian royal family and famed patroness of millinery fashion.

As for Buttercup, she and Westley sail around the world on his luxury yacht Revenge. I am sure there is a story behind that name, I say to Inigo. “There is,” he smiles rakishly, “but I am not allowed to tell. You must ask the Capitan. Perhaps he will tell you.” The Capitan also owns a summer home in Florin, about a stone’s throw from the famous Florinese nature reserve, the Fire Swamp. He and Buttercup have been instrumental in its preservation, preventing poachers from harming the animals, botanical thieves from stealing its rare plant specimens, as well as occasional tourists who try to trample through on extreme camping trips.

When we arrive at the beach, JJ is all enthusiasm, happily snapping away at the Most Beautiful Woman in the World. Her smile is shy. She giggles a little, then looks away in embarrassment, as though having her picture taken is a new experience. Her naiveté, her almost totally unworldly personality, do give the impression of a simple country girl. For all her fame, wealth, and of course, her dazzling beauty – she really seems like she could have just come from milking the cows.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Devil Wears Prada

makeup and heels, ooh!
there goes my integrity
Boyfriend was SO right

Saturday, December 15, 2007

You are writing for someone.

When I started to take the idea of writing seriously, I just wrote and wrote, and then wrote some more. I didn’t have a thought beyond the writing process. My logic was simple: I would write a book; people would read this book; I would deal with their response, for better or for worse. Logically, I would have to produce a book first, and until I did that, nothing else mattered. I would worry about publishing when it became a relevant issue. I was alone with my typewriter (okay, keyboard, but typewriter sounds much more romantic). The reader did not exist. I didn’t care what anyone else wanted. Again, I was backed by sound logic: I want to write what I want and don’t give me orders like I’m a short-order cook.

Time wore on. I worked on my book. Half my brain fantasized about how brilliant I was and how amazing it would be when I finished. Amid all this fantasizing, the other half of my brain knew I didn’t have nearly enough skill to turn out a novel. Something was very wrong about the whole project – I didn’t have a word for it – I felt it in my gut. I started to think about failure and then I realized what I was dreading: audience response. It was funny in a way, I had so casually eliminated the audience from the equation, but here I was dreading how my imaginary audience would respond to the book I hadn’t finished writing. I started wondering whether my core logic was right. Sure, write I want, don’t give me orders, blah blah blah… And then I asked myself, “Who’s going to read this, anyway?”

Yeah, I know it sounds trivial, but it really never occurred to me. I didn’t consider that readers weren’t some abstract concept, but actual living people with minds and lives of their own. My perspective shifted; I did a little test-run in my head. Mom? Of course she’d read and she’d be proud of me for the sheer endeavor. Friends? One wouldn’t like the genre I was writing, so maybe she’d humor me, but I wouldn’t get more than that. Another was a voracious reader who would hold me to the standard of her favorite writers. But what about everybody else? I became flooded with panic. There were millions of people I couldn’t account for, that I knew nothing about.

A moment later I realized that I had just gone to the other extreme. My core logic, after all, while not totally right, was not totally wrong either – I shouldn’t ignore the readers, but I shouldn’t allow them to dictate either. I wasn’t writing for money, though I didn’t (and still don’t) find the idea of commercial success distasteful. I wasn’t writing purely for my own enjoyment, I really did want other people to enjoy my writing as well. Again, I’m sure this sounds entirely obvious and utterly idiotic, but I had never thought of it that way before. I know that was a long introduction, but I think it helps clarify how I reached the following conclusions:

You are writing for someone. Writing is a lot like having a conversation. Essentially, you’re expressing yourself, which means you’re expecting your words to make some kind of impression on the person you’re speaking to. Just like you would alter what you’d say and how you’d say it depending on who you were talking to, you’ll have to make certain decisions about your writing according to who you’re writing for. I’m not saying take a poll or a survey to see what people want (I meant what I said about not being a short-order cook). It brings me to the next point.

Someone is not everyone. You can't please everyone. Some people will "get" your writing, others won't. There's no need to lose sleep over it.

Someone is not stupid. You don’t have to explain every little thing. I think it’s Billy Wilder who said that you should let your audience think for themselves, that you don’t have to spell things out for them. In fact, most of the enjoyment can come from hearing other people’s interpretations and reactions. That having been said…

Someone is not clairvoyant. There is a difference between giving people room to interpret and being vague. Likewise, something may resonate one way with you, but resonate differently with someone else. Sometimes you need to give additional information in order for whatever it is you’re writing to come across the way you want it to.

I guess you had to be there. We (yes, I know this sounds crass) fall in love with the writing process and its challenges. We become so immersed in the creation that we often lose sight of the finished product, forgetting that this is all a reader has to go by in the end. They didn’t see you working. They don’t know what you put into it, they can only assume. It’s kind of like building a house or skyscraper and expecting someone to look at it and go, “Ooh, what a lovely infrastructure you have holding this together! And I’m sure the plumbing is just peachy!”

And that’s it, in a nutshell. Well, okay, more like a coconut shell.

Next time on Technical Saturday… Narrators and Point-of-View.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Spanish Verbs

regular and non-
with change and irregular
my head swims slightly

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

When Spike Met Buffy… by Norrah Effronn

The Bizarre Buffy the Vampire Slayer Bit – A Segment in Which BtVS is Ludicrously Contorted to Fit the Conventions of Another Genre

Fade in. Faith and Robin Wood are sitting together on a couch.

Faith: We started with a fling.
Robin: Right. Then she tried to blow me off.
Faith: Yeah, but he was all stubborn, and then he says he’s prettier than I am, which is so not true.
Robin: I knew that would get to her.
Faith: So, uhh, after we averted the apocalypse, we traveled around together, seeing the country.
Robin: Yeah, kind of a no-pressure relationship, but the whole time, we could still feel it was special.
Faith: He was the first guy to ever cook dinner for me. Or buy it, actually.
Robin: I made these, uhh, these great thick juicy steaks.
Faith: And these amazing potatoes stuffed with mushrooms. Unbelievable. He makes them every year.
Robin: For our anniversary.

Cut to: Spike striding up the sidewalk to the Summers’ house, casually twirling an axe and whistling ‘It Had to Be You.’ He knocks on the door.

Spike: Come on, slayer! Time for slaying!

No answer. Spike knocks harder.

Spike: Slayer?

The door opens. Buffy is standing there in her pajamas, her hair is disheveled, her eyes red and swollen from crying.

Spike: What happened to you?
Buffy: He’s getting married.
Spike: Who?
Buffy: [duh] Angel.
Spike: Oh. Well, uhh…
Buffy: I need a tissue.

Buffy walks back inside, sniffling. She starts to climb the stairs. Spike follows her with a sigh. Cut to: Buffy’s bedroom. Buffy paces in front of the bed, while Spike tries to sit there patiently.

Buffy: He just called me up, wanted to see how I was. Fine. How are you? Fine. He’s fighting crime, up to his neck in demons, blah blah blah. And I’m thinking, I’m over him. I really am over him. And then he said he has some news. [sob] Some girl he met in a demon dimension, she works in his office now. Her name is Fred.
Spike: Fred? Are you sure it’s a girl, ‘cause you know Angel is kinda…
Buffy: [sob] He just met her! I’m his girl! I’m his perfect happiness! I’m the one! All this time I’ve been telling myself, he left me because he loved me so much, he wanted me to have my own life, but the truth is… he didn’t want to be with me.
Spike: If you could take him back right now, would you?
Buffy: Yes!
Spike: What?
Buffy: Of course! He’s my first love – I’m never gonna stop loving him. And I drove him away with my slayer heroics. What is wrong with me?
Spike: Nothing’s wrong with you, love. Except for your taste in men.
Buffy: I’m difficult.
Spike: You’re tenacious.
Buffy: I’m aggressive.
Spike: It’s a turn-on.
Buffy: No, no, no I drove him away, and I’m going to be thirty.
Spike: When?
Buffy: … someday.
Spike: In eight years. If you don’t get yourself killed on the job first.
Buffy: But it’s there. It’s just sitting there like this big dead end. It’s so easy for guys like you – vampires live forever.
Spike: On paper, yeah, but when you think about it, most of us get killed sooner than the average human.

Buffy laughs a little in spite of herself, but quickly returns to sobbing. Spike loses his patience.

Spike: I can’t bloody take this. You know people might be dying out there because you’re in here weeping like a baby!
Buffy: [sob] I am not weeping like a baby!
Spike: Boohoo, Angel doesn’t love you anymore! I’d be bloody ecstatic you got that brooding git out of your hair, which incidentally looks like you let a cat try to comb it! You’re the bloody slayer! You don’t have the right to fall apart just because your ex decides to start shagging some other bird.

Buffy slaps him. There’s a little blood at the corner of his mouth.

Buffy: Sorry. I’m sorry, Spike.
Spike: No you’re not. But full marks for lying, love.
Buffy: … I’ll be ready in a minute.
Spike: Need some help getting dressed?

She shoves him out of the room and slams the door in his face.

Spike: Right, I’ll just wait out here then. [mumbles] Bloody hell. Should’ve gone the sympathy route…

Cut to: The Couch. Anya and Xander.

Anya: The first time I said I’d marry him, he left me at the altar.
Xander: There was a whole demon illusion there. It wasn’t really my fault.
Anya: He broke my heart. I hated him. Slept with Spike. Went back into vengeance. Started flirting with him again. Then I died in the apocalypse.
Xander: Temporary setback.
Anya: He brings me back from the dead. I won’t tell you how. It’s very romantic, but also very boring. So I’m back from the dead and boom-
Xander: Yeah, I proposed again. And she said yes, again.
Anya: Well I still had feelings for him and he was very, very rich from construction work.
Xander: Anya...
Anya: It’s true. Ooh, and the engagement ring was huge. Some people said it was distastefully large, but I always ignore stupid people.
Xander: That’s my girl.

Cut to: Graveyard. Night. Buffy and Spike face each other, a couple demon bodies on the ground.

Spike: I've been doing a lot of thinking. And the thing is… I love you.
Buffy: What?
Spike: I. Love. You.
Buffy: How do you expect me to respond to this?
Spike: How about you love me too? It’s a classic.
Buffy: How about I’m leaving.
Spike: Doesn’t what I said mean anything to you?
Buffy: I'm sorry, Spike, I know it’s the apocalypse (again), I know you’re feeling like it’s a good opportunity to get things off your chest, but you just can’t show up here, help me kill demons, tell me you love me and expect that to make everything alright. It doesn’t work that way.
Spike: It worked for Angel!
Buffy: Did you have to drag him into this? You know what? There isn’t even a ‘this’ because this is not happening.
Spike: Okay, I’ll give you a ‘this.’ I love that you have about thirty different jackets and you wear them even though it’s rarely cold enough, I love that you kill twelve demons a night and have an individual victory wise-crack for each, I love that you get that little frown when you’re looking at me like I'm bloody mad, I love that after I spend a night with you I can still smell your perfume on my clothes, and I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at dawn. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because you can kick my ass, and it’s not because it’s the bleeding apocalypse (again). I come out with you every night because I know I’m a monster and I know I don’t deserve you and when I die I want you to be the last thing I see and know that you know I died helping you.
Buffy: See, that is the kind of ‘this’ I didn’t need to hear. It is just like you with your sincerity and your British accent to confuse me. You say things like that and you make it impossible for me to hate you. I have to hate you.
Spike: Sod that!

Spike kisses Buffy. Buffy kisses Spike back.

Cut to: Spike and Buffy sitting on the couch, holding hands.

Spike: Uhh, well, we met fighting demons.
Buffy: Actually we met when he threatened to kill me. Then he attacked my school on Parent-Teacher Night and held everyone hostage.
Spike: Yeah, the history of our relationship is a bit colorful.
Buffy: We had a beautiful wedding.
Spike: Nighttime wedding.
Buffy: We had this amazing cake with – you know, instead of those creepy plastic figurines – a stencil of our interwoven initials.
Spike: Quite posh. I wanted a fountain of blood, but, uhh, the missus here wanted champagne, so…
Buffy: Yeah, we decided champagne would be-
Spike: More appropriate.
Buffy: Of course, some vampires did crash. I had to do some slaying, but it was after the vows, so I wasn’t really annoyed.
Spike: You should’ve seen her in this white satin number, with one of those extra long veils trailing behind her. The most beautiful woman in the world.
Buffy: Aww, so sweet…

They glow with happiness.

Fade to black.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Letters to the Editor

readers and comments
holy cow is this for real?
*pinch pinch* I guess so

Today, two things in addition to the regular haiku:

One, I wanted to thank everyone for reading and commenting! (That exclamation point is there to emphasize how excited I am. See ---> !)

Two, I wanted to clarify something about the writing guidelines from Saturday's post. HP rightly noted in her comment that you shouldn't be in such a hurry to walk away from a project: I tend to disagree both on the 'better not finish than finish poorly' and the writer's block. Because both of those are good methods of walking away from something you're invested in very deeply and then getting depressed about it. Also, they tend to disregard the existence of the editorial process.

When I said that it's better not to finish than to finish poorly, I didn't mean that it's better to just give up. What I meant was, sometimes you can stop seeing what's right in front of you, and you need to take a breather - or even several - in order to clear your vision. In other words, you leave because you intend to come back. I'm not suggesting a period of years or anything, but a week or two usually works wonders. As HP said, it's very painful giving up on a project after having invested so much in it, which is why my Writer's-Block-Antidote hinges on perseverance.

I'm glad HP brought this up because I see now that my original point wasn't clear enough. I welcome any comments, even those that disagree with mine. I won't resort to name-calling, unless expressly asked.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Hello, I’m Stella and I like writing.

Allow me to get right to the point (cherish this moment, it won’t be so easy for me to do in future posts): I know what it’s like to repeatedly come upon creative dead-ends and to be at a loss as how to get out of them. I also know what it’s like to have tools without quite understanding how to use them. Sure, we can all define irony. Sure, we all know the formal difference between a first-person and a third-person narrator. Sure, we all know what exposition and denouement are. But why do you use them? How do you know you’re using them the right way? Is there even such a thing as the right way?

I’ve been writing for a number of years now, and I think I’ve figured out a few things, which I’d like to share. In future posts I’ll do my best to handle topics like plot, character, dialogue, exposition, narration, and so on. To begin with, here are seven general guidelines which I try to keep in mind when I write. I know they may seem a little obvious, but I reread them every once in a while to stay focused.

Respect the classics. Not because other people have deemed them classics, but because your writing is the product of an entire writing tradition – whether you realize it or not. You don’t have to like them, but you should have a basic knowledge of what came before you. Just because something was written scores or hundreds of years ago, doesn’t mean you can’t learn anything from it now. Besides, you shouldn’t have a false sense of your own originality.

Never think you have nothing left to learn. You can evolve, change, grow – whatever you want to call it – at any stage.

Don’t be concerned about what a book/script “should” have. Critics, authors, and readers have been arguing for centuries over the essential components of a text. They will never stop arguing.

Regard each project as unique. Even if you keep returning to the same themes, characters, or places, you can still develop them in new directions or gain new insights by taking a different approach. Call it rehash prevention.

Use whatever you need to keep track of your work. Notebooks, reminder notes, charts, bulletin boards, etc. It’s entirely your decision. You need to be comfortable. What works for one writer may not necessarily work for you.

Take your time. You don’t have to force yourself to finish a project within a certain amount of time. Finishing at any cost can be worse than not finishing at all. Though having a schedule can be useful in keeping you focused, it can also add unnecessary pressure, thereby affecting the quality of your work.

Handling Writer’s Block. This is simply a point where you need to stop and leave the project for a while, maybe for a couple of days or weeks until you’ve “forgotten” it somewhat. Then after you come back, hopefully you’ll have a bit more perspective and will be able to figure out why you’re stuck. It’s not because you forgot to sacrifice a goat to that muse and now she’s mad at you so she’s sent you Writer’s Block as a punishment. The problem is somewhere in your construction and you can find it. Don’t let your own temporary disgust/disinterest cause you to throw away a project or compromise it by finishing prematurely.

Next time on Technical Saturday, a formal introduction between you and your readers –formal wear not necessary.