Improving your skill

Date posted: May 14, 2018

Tis I, Steven. I have returned.

And what does this return carry with it? Oh, not much. Another book read, more anime watched, and my journey into Agents of Shield just beginning. And of course editing.

I’m having a great time reading what myself and the co-author have written. Few corrections needed still, though I’m re-wording things a bit. Trying to make it less samey, if you understand. Using the same word paragraph after paragraph when trying to explain things isn’t helpful. And certainly is annoying to me.

There have been several books in the past that for whatever reason the author continued to use a certain phrase over and over. Now this can certainly work if it is a build on the previous use, but when it’s merely a lazy way of using words, or as if a thesaurus hasn’t been used, it sounds dull and boring. To me it sounds like the author didn’t go over their first draft with fresh eyes, and just accepted whatever they had written previously. Perhaps done to meet some deadline, yet it makes it seem lifeless. As if the writer didn’t care about what they were writing. Or so arrogant that they can’t imagine editing their golden words.

It’s not nearly as bad or noticeable when you just read it, but when read aloud it becomes readily apparent. Hence why I recommend reading your book aloud, to an audience if you have one. Or have a text to speech program read it back to you while you edit. All editing I’ve done for previous books have included this step, and I think they are better for it. Maybe they aren’t perfect still, but I know for sure they flow much better than they had from that first draft.

When writing the first draft don’t worry about it so much though. You’ll get bored if you have nothing to fix. Also your job in that first draft is to just to tell the story. Maybe you’ve done so with an outline, but don’t get too caught up in making it perfect first. You’ll be editing and reviewing. Or you should be. You can’t expect it to be perfect the first time around. You’ll try to make it so when you edit.

Another thing I recommend is reading. Whether it’s a good book or bad, they seem to help you understand what you like about your own style, or they show you another style you’d like to write in. All books can’t be gems, but even the bad ones can show you what to do or not to do. Hence why I think my current writing has improved, besides the whole repetition of writing itself.

Creating, or writing, is like a muscle. You must continue to exercise it, else-wise you’ll slip back to where you began. Never improving. Yet when you push and put effort into working, you’ll see improvement. It may be slight, but you’ll get better. And if you ever hope to build those giant muscles that allow you to easily sit before a keyboard and just be able to write beautiful prose after prose, you must exercise. Reading is a part of that. So work, and be better. Read, and be better. Learn and improve.

We all start out as novices, even if some of our creations are purposeful and lovely from the start. But time and effort will reward, and you will reap benefits that you can’t imagine.

With that I’ll leave you this week. I hope you find something you enjoy working on and creating. All I’ve said stands for any creative task. Work on it, and look at what others are doing. You’ll get better.

 

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update: An estimated 23% into editing

Steven Oaks

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The Punisher

Date posted: May 7, 2018

 

Howdy folks, I’ve returned.

Another week has passed, and I’m filled with excitement for writing. That excitement does come and go, but even if I’m not feeling especially motivated I still write. I think that is something that isn’t thought about by most new writers. Perhaps they think they’ll only be able to write if the mood is right, but really to finish what you’ve started you have to keep going even when you don’t feel like it. It has been said by others, and I find that it is correct. So here I’ve said it again in hopes that it can motivate others even when they don’t feel the spark of creativeness.

So what have I been up to? Well I finished the Punisher Netflix series. I wasn’t completely sure about it before I started. He wasn’t my favorite character in Daredevil, and I wasn’t too interested in seeing what they were going to do with him. However my misgivings were unfounded. They did a good job building up his backstory, while allowing that to create a world where he functions. A world filled with disillusioned former soldiers. And while I wasn’t completely sold on the actor they cast for the Punisher, by the end I can’t see anyone else playing such a broken man. A hardened soldier left with nothing after his family is killed, he seeks to end the evil in the world. One death at a time.

This vigilante isn’t here for the justice of the law, he is here simply to end injustice. His methods are permanent, and he has gone about it by murdering any he sees as harming the innocent. Jaded by the same government who’s orders he took blindly for years, he no longer feels they serve the people. In that vein he refuses to seek their aid, as he no longer trust them to do the right thing.

Fortunately for him and us the viewer he hasn’t made a mistake in judgment, and has only killed those that are evil, or those that blindly work for said evil. If there had been mistakes he might have had to reevaluate his world view, but he apparently does his homework. There are very few shades of gray in this story, unless you count the Punisher. He is the gray, and he is aware of it, but he refuses to back down, as he is convinced he is correct. And while others may bring up that killing isn’t the right way, he never really seems to think about it.

In the end I enjoyed the show, though I think more scenes should have been dedicated to questioning the right and wrong of what he was doing. Some people he killed were merely doing their job, but I suppose he may have justified it. Soldiers to him are merely extensions of those that give orders. Still, I wasn’t always on his side, but I understand protecting yourself from those that have weapons pointed at you.

The trappings of military have always been interesting to me, when it serves a larger story. Take for instance Stargate SG1. Yes it’s a science fiction story about exploring other worlds, and alien cultures, it still has a military force at the head of said exploration. I think that served to further the story. As such, I think the same thing for the Punisher. Had he been simply a civilian serving up vigilante justice, it wouldn’t have worked as well. He was and is highly trained, and has a grudge against organizations such as the government. He can’t trust anyone, and that isolation after being apart of a team is really at the heart of the show. He misses his family, be they his wife and children or his unit, and wants to still trust in them, but always hesitates to fully do so. Caution is his way of life, and he holds himself away from others even while he attempts to protect them.

So yes, I recommend watching this show. It may not be my favorite marvel Netflix original, but it certainly was better than some. And he avoided being wrapped up in the miserable tonal mess that was the Defenders, so at least he’s got that going for him.

Until next time, have a good week.

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update: An estimated 22% into editing

Steven Oaks

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Lost in Space

Date posted: April 30, 2018

Hello all. Once more I have returned.

What is there to talk about this week? Hrm. Perhaps I’ll talk a little about Lost in Space. The one that is on Netflix now at least. The old one I watched years ago, and I was much younger then and can’t recall much of it. Otherwise I only have the movie to call upon. A movie that I liked enough to buy the DVD back when DVD’s were new. I can’t say it’s a masterpiece, but I still find it enjoyable enough.

This new incarnation is decent. I had some issues with characters not being the standard ones that were in the original, nor in the movie. For one Will isn’t the wunderkind that he was in those others, but I think it was suitable to let a child just be a well-educated. One who happens to have large fears, which one would at that age, and from having what appears to be a very protective mother. That and having the family be mixed with the eldest girl from a previous marriage. But if I were to complain a bit, it would be the military minded father taking a back seat to the scientist wife. In a situation in the unknown it would be more suited that he would have stepped up more than he did, but as the show went on you see his reasons. That and the situation changed to more of a day to day survival, rather than continuous emergencies.

These are small complaints, but the tone didn’t seem quite realistic. A funny thing to say about fiction, but the one thing that allows the viewer to connect with such outlandish situations is the normality, or the reasoning that can be understood behind character motivations. At least from the view point character. But in the end it didn’t kill my enjoyment, though it was off-putting early on.

So did I like the show? Yeah, it was decent. Am I waiting for my next fix eagerly? Meh, not really. But I’ll watch another season if and when it comes out. There are other things I’d watch before it, but if it’s the only thing on my list of shows out at the time, yeah, I’d watch it.

Other than that I caught up on the last season of Supernatural, and trudged my way back into watching A Series of Unfortunate Events. Oh Supernatural. Even with this 12th season that I just watched, you still manage to be entertaining. Though I think taking a bit of a break from it helped me enjoy it again.

As for A Series of Unfortunate Events, I like the rapid dialogue, even if it seems patronizing at times, but that’s mostly because the adults in the show are doing it towards the kids. I like the actors, and it is fun to watch, but now I realize I can’t just binge it. One episode at a time is as much as I’m willing to watch and enjoy, because having another right after seems to make it drag. For me at least.

I think that’s all I have to say this time. I finished another book, but I don’t have too much to say about it. If you want to get me feelings about such things you can always follow me on Goodreads, or just watch my twitter. When I rate something it tends to show up there.

Have a good week. I’ll talk to you soon.

 

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update: An estimated 19% into editing

Steven Oaks

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LOTR and Star Wars

Date posted: April 23, 2018

 

Hello again friends and readers. Another week has passed, and I’m back.

This last week was spent with me feeling sick. It started with a sore throat, then slowly grew into a runny nose and coughing fits. The worst of it was last Tuesday, as I find the sore throat the worst, but that went away in a day. I just had to put up with coughing for the rest of it. Today I’m mostly better, but I am still snuffling a bit now and again.

Since I had a bit of time to myself at night, I continued to try to find things to fill the time. I watched (omit) a few hours worth of Youtube, most of it from a person who wanted to talk about The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and then the Hobbit movies. Apparently to them LOTR is something like Star Wars to them. Not in tone or anything, but like a favorite set of movies from childhood. I was already in my twenties when they came out, so I guess that’s why I don’t feel the same, though I did like them when they came out. But they also hated the Hobbit movies. I assume in the way I dislike the Prequels that came after the original Star Wars Trilogy. Strange how they have so many parallels, not that they pointed this fact out.

Too much input or influence from the studio, or studios in the case of the Hobbit movies, seems to have hurt what could have been a good set of movies. Originally it was ment to just be two movies, and of course there was a shoehorned in romance with two characters that were not meant to exist, or at least not as they were presented. And of course the move away from focusing on the dwarves, and instead onto elves, or just looking at the lead dwarf. No more was it a journey of a group, it was a journey of a king looking for a kingdom and his gold. Too much CG, and rushed CG at that. There had been two years of work before they set to shoot the first scenes, but that was with another director, and his vision was scrapped when he was replaced with Peter Jackson. They had to start shooting almost immediately, with very little plan. No wonder it’s such a mess.

I can’t say I made it through all three movies. I wasn’t even paying much attention when I watched the second one. I was already disinterested, but I figured I should give it a try, but sadly it wasn’t very good, and I didn’t care enough to watch the third. And now knowing more about the behind the scenes that went on I care even less about doing so. I’ll stick with the original LOTR if I want my fantasy fix from that universe. Luckily I have them on DVD, but I guess I don’t have the same drive to re-watch them like I have with the Star Wars trilogy.

Speaking of Star Wars, I watched the Last Jedi this weekend. I can’t say it was perfect, but it was certainly better in most ways than the prequels. That isn’t saying much, but I don’t hate the fact that I watched it. That may change, but at least there was the scene with Yoda. That made it all worth while for me. Not because Yoda showed up, but because I think he had some great dialogue. The exchange with Luke and him felt genuine, and I can say if I do watch it again I’ll look forward to hearing his words of wisdom again. Mostly though I think it was too full of side plots that didn’t go anywhere, and most of those didn’t feel like Star Wars to me. But that’s just one persons perspective. Perhaps others feel differently, and maybe they enjoyed the spectacle, but to me Star Wars is about learning. Learning about yourself. Learning to control the force. Learning to control your emotions. Right actions, and not letting your feelings control you. But hey, again, that’s me.

But that’s about all I have to share now, so I’ll leave you to have a wonderful week. May the Force be with you, always.LOTR and Star Wars

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update: An estimated 19% into editing

Steven Oaks

Follow me on the things below.

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Overtime Blues

Date posted: April 16, 2018

I’ve returned. I apologize for my prolonged absence, but things became busier than expected.

Where I currently work, certain hours became available, and I took them to make sure there was no gap in coverage. Some days it was 12hrs, others the usual 8. But by the end of it I worked more than a week straight. It was difficult at times, but I was able to accomplish the task.

Working for so many days left me many hours to think, but not much time for anything else. As such the editing slowed to nothing until today, so I’m a little behind schedule. But fear not, I’m still going to get this book finished, I’m just not certain when. If more weeks come like that, it will certainly push back things again. It never feels like there’s enough time in the day, or more rightly, it never feels like I’m well rested enough to do anything when I’m not at work.

As for tired, I’m still exhausted. I’m not sleeping properly at all, and wake up at most every four hours. Tossing and turning is no way to stay abed, and I usually get up for an hour or so and do something, productive or not. I suppose it’s hard to stay asleep when you do that, but I just can’t get comfortable. My muscles ache, but bones crack, apparently I’m getting older. Though when I talk about what I do, most people just say I’m pushing myself too hard. But that’s the job, and how can I expect to be paid if I’m not doing what I’m paid to do?

Honestly I don’t have much else to say today. It was just a very long week, and now hopefully things are back to normal. I’ll be able to get back into my normal sleep schedule(fingers crossed), and get back to writing/editing on my normal weekly basis. If I do, hopefully these last few days of troubled sleep will be resolved, and things will be as they were. A weekly post by me after I edit, with my random thoughts on things I’ve read/watched, or things I’ve thought about.

Until next time, may it be next week, have a good day.

 

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update: An estimated 21% into editing

Steven Oaks

Follow me on the things below.

ce70Twitter-icon Connect-with-SDK-Welding-on-Google+ Tumblr-Iconurl goodreads_icon_256 YouTube-App-Icon