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Finding time to Write April 5, 2014

Posted by Al Philipson in Uncategorized.
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For me, finding time to write is a major chore. Good writers block out some time every day. I’m happy if the geek will give me Sunday afternoon after church to write.

Well, I lucked out today (Saturday) and go almost the entire day to write and actually laid down over 2500 words in addition to some nit-picking with the parts I’d already written. Very relaxing.

I’m actually starting to get comfortable with my characters, especially Eric, the “hero” of the yarn. He’s been tough to get to know because there’s very little of me in him. He started out in my eyes as almost mythical. An Adonis with Herculean abilities, but he’s starting to step off Mount Olympus and acquiring some humanity. It’s the start of a journey, but he’s still not where I want him to be. But being a hard-headed character, he may never fall into line. They all develop minds of their own and tell me to get stuffed when I try to “tame” them.

By the way. If you haven’t read Buck’s interview (Children of Destruction), by all means give it a look. He agreed rather reluctantly to the grilling, so we may never get another chance to talk to him outside the book.

Life Experience is Often Hard March 2, 2014

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A couple of weeks ago, I talked about gaining life experience if you want to be a writer. If you just want to be a reader, this can help you understand what goes into the, hopefully, amazing stories that were/are your favorites.

Certainly getting close to people can gain life experience for you, but when you get close to people, you can sometimes be hurt — and hurt badly. And not always because of some betrayal of the other person.

AngelThis was driven home to me, again, a week ago, when my best friend passed away suddenly. He was a truly brilliant man with degrees in physics and aeronautical engineering, and an IQ above 170. And yes, he was a real, life, honest to God “rocket scientist”. We had a standing “date” once a week to sit and talk about whatever popped into our heads. We talked about important things, like family, Jesus, and God; as well as entertaining subjects like physics, space tethers (our last discussion on the evening when his wife and I had to call the ambulance to take him to the hospital), politics, and other trivia. He left to be with Jesus two days later. He doesn’t hurt any more because he has a new body and a glorious life ahead of him, but my heart hurts every time I think of him because I no longer have the pleasure of his delightful company.

That’s what I mean about being hurt.

Life will break your heart many times as you gain “life experience”. You’ll also accumulate joys and triumphs as well. Savor both the good and bad, because the emotions you felt can be valuable grist for your stories. If you can transfer those emotions to the page and to your audience, you’ll be a much better writer and hopefully, your audience, the wonderful people who bless you by taking their precious time to read your scribblings, will enjoy themselves when they read your prose.

Writing About People, Not Things February 16, 2014

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I met a nice teenager on Twitter who wants to be a writer. Like many teens, she thinks of herself as a “loner”. Probably even when surrounded by her classmates.

Anyway, she seems quite typical for her age group. Interested in the gee-whiz kick-butt semi-super-hero stuff that passes for entertainment for so many of today’s kids (and I’ll admit that I occasionally find something in that mix that entertains me, even at my advanced years).

She seems to want a friend who can listen to her ideas and give her clues (hard to do in 140-characters segments). I’m trying to get her to pay a bit less attention to “gee-whiz” and more to people’s hopes, shortcomings, failings, aspirations, etc. which is the hallmark of just about all good literature. It’s not easy. Especially in this day when “flash” is so often valued over substance.

Teens have so little “life experience” to draw upon, especially if they are truly withdrawn into a shell of their own making. What she, and any author who ever wants to write good stories, has to do, is to be around and study people and learn to empathize with them and their various worlds.

But the problem isn’t always limited to teens. Too many adults live in closed worlds where the other people around them are just images that pass by without being examined or experienced. When these people aspire to be writers, they’re already starting with a handicap because their characters will never come to life. They’ll be the same plastic images they’ve ignored in their “real” lives.

Superbowl Champs and my Muse is Back February 9, 2014

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Well, as you now know, the Hawks won the Superbowl and the state went nuts for several days. What a rush! Even the normally reticent Marshawn Lynch (“Beast Mode”) came out of his shell, now that he doesn’t have to “stay in the zone” mentally and lead the parade, throwing his trademark Skittles into the crowd (he got an advertising deal before the game) and having quite a few thrown to/at him. Lots of fun for everyone and no behavior problems from the crowd.

Is this what won the game for us?

Is this what won the game for us?

I’m not sure who it was (probably Quarterback, Russel Wilson) that said at the end of the presentations, “Let’s do this again next year”.

Yes. Let’s.

Anyhow, now that the shoutin’ is all over, I can get back to work. Pumped out another 2400 words this weekend. As usual, when I get on a roll, I run out of time, but I’ll keep at it until Escape from Earth is completed.

Then the hard work starts. Re-write, re-re-write, etc.

It’s a Hard Time to be a Writer January 31, 2014

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No, I’m not whining about economics. It’s a matter of distraction.

Seahawks-I am in ThumbYou see, I’m a huge Seahawks fan (so is the Geek), just like so many other people in this part of the world. It’s said that Seattle is a “football town”. Well, so is the rest of the state. We have baseball (the Mariners), but their performance is rather lackluster and the weather around here isn’t conducive to long baseball seasons. Rain is our lot (football weather). We had a pro basketball team, but lost them.

So, back to my problem. The Hawks are in New Jersey/New York preparing for Sunday’s game and that is preoccupying the media around here — and me. If I sit down to write, all that comes out is football. I’ve dreamed up several ways to torment my current set of characters, but I just can’t get it down on paper. The Geek is too busy preparing for his annual Super Bowl party and Sunday (my best time to write), we’ll be happily screaming our heads off with several other fans.

I wish you the same happy distraction.

Preoccupation While Writing January 9, 2014

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I’m in trouble.

It seems that while I was monopolizing the Geek’s brain and writing up a storm on New Year’s Day, he was supposed to be at a friend’s house for the day. Neither one of us remembers receiving the invitation, but the lady of the house definitely made sure he’ll remember in the future. Her old man was a bit more laid back about it.

I may have been checking out a good-lookin’ chick at the time. I tend to take over when pretty women are around.

The Holidays are over – darn it January 1, 2014

Posted by Al Philipson in Uncategorized.
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The plan was for the Geek and me to take the entire week off between Christmas and New Year and just write. But it didn’t seem to work out that way. The world just doesn’t listen to our plans. There always seemed to be something else more pressing that needed done. Dead car battery, “gotta do” things left over from work, the list goes on.

So, on New Year’s Eve, since we didn’t have any social plans (thank God), the Geek took some time off to read and watch TV while I dived back into Escape from Earth. And we took New Year’s Day off as well, devoted most of the day to writing, and managed to knock out 5500 words.

A really nice way to start off the year. Maybe the Geek and I can get more done this year and actually finish this thing so we can get onto God’s Assassin.

So, Happy New Year everyone!

And, as a friend of ours said earlier, “Goodbye 2013, and good riddance!”

Happy Thanksgiving November 29, 2013

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I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and avoided any injury during Black Friday.

We (the Geek and I) spent Thanksgiving with some friends and watched football when not stuffing our faces (he stuffed his face, I enjoyed it second hand).

We spent Friday at home, writing, instead of charging into the press at the stores. Much easier on the constitution. I think I’m getting a hand on the final plot line for Escape from Earth. The characters are starting to gel.

Sunday is the start of Advent, so enjoy the season and remember what it’s really about.

Plain Speaking: How (and why) was Al Philipson Created? August 5, 2013

Posted by Al Philipson in Uncategorized.
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Where writer's Avatars live, Courtesy of SerendigityThis is “the Geek” talking. Al Philipson is giving me some time on his blog to talk about the real story behind his creation.

Many years ago, I was between “geeky” jobs (I was a computer nerd, playing with the “big iron”, the large IBM mainframes of the era; this was in the dark ages before personal computer). During this time, I had a story nagging me, so I used my suddenly abundant spare time to write it up — on a typewriter no less. I managed to knock out 50,000 words in a short period of time and mailed it off to my agent, under my real name. It was called, Rebirth. (more…)

Best Choc. Chip Cookie Recipe from Jean July 18, 2013

Posted by Al Philipson in Uncategorized.
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DavesChocChipCookies200x132Jean’s friend, David Amundson, had a cooking accident and ended up creating a better chocolate chip cookie. He gave Jean permission to publish it. Here it is, with Jean’s variations and comments added.

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