5 Keys: More Writing Advice for Writers

In my last post I shared the article published in the first issue of CadreZine. I had an article in the second issue, as well. It’s title: 5 Keys: More Writing Advice for Writers. In it, I answer the 5 questions I get asked most, pertaining to my literary endeavors. Maybe… just maybe, some of my insights will provide you with new ways to think about A) how you approach your own writing, or B) how you look at the things you read. If nothing else, the article will give you a little deeper insight into my process. I should note, the article was written in early April, with March’s strange weather fresh in everyone’s mind. With no further ado, I give you…

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More Writing Advice for Writers

I know I said in my last article that next I’d be discussing The Best and Worst Soups As Given To Me By Passersby While I’m Shoveling My Driveway Because They Think I Am A Hobo. While it’s a very rich topic, I must admit the soup hasn’t been flowing as much since I wrote that article. Sure, we had that one snowstorm where we got 20 inches overnight. After that, we kind of had a heat wave, which I’m sure you all remember fondly. Perhaps more soup will come in as I begin raking, but who knows when that will be? Not me, boy.

I’ve been busting my brain since my last article about what to discuss in this one. I had some great ideas. Instead of any of those, I think I’ll share some insights I’ve gained from attempting to be a writer.

The #1 Question I Get Asked Most

I guess the question I get asked most is “Hey, Brent, you’ve been a writer for about two days. Why should we take any advice from you?”

Great question. You probably shouldn’t take my advice. Any of it. I don’t deliver it well, and I make sure not to do any supporting research. Also, I seldom have anything relevant to say. Like my last article. What was that even about? I certainly don’t know. I doubt you do, either. But I stand by it, and I think that’s important.

The #2 Question I Get Asked Most

“Do you have to cuss so much in your writing?”

Well, I don’t think I do cuss that much. There might have been a few swears that made it into my book, but most of them were quite colorful. Something to be proud of, I feel. Besides, I’m supposed to be an “artist”, right? Self expression and junk? What if Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, or J. K. Rowling had never used any fancy swear words? Yeah, we’d never know who those bums were. I’m not comparing myself to them, though. I’m just saying that if Indiana Jones never used the F-bomb, nobody would have watched that movie and the Germans would have won the Cold War. Or China. Or whatever. I wasn’t a History major, so save your angry letter, Poindexter.

The #3 Question I Get Asked Most

“If you’re such an authority on writing, how come I’ve never heard of you?”

A fair question. Remember, I never claimed to be an authority on writing. You can’t show me anywhere I’ve said that. I don’t even claim to be an authority on the television series “Sons of Anarchy”, and I watch that WAY more than I write. I think it all comes down to two things: A) The show doesn’t have enough Opie, and B) Can you believe Clay did that junk at the end of last season?! Such character development! I was thinking about getting a motorcycle of my very own, but then I would always be out riding it. I wouldn’t have time to watch the program, let alone write Sons of Anarchy fan fiction. Which I don’t do because that would be lame. Well, it might be kinda cool, right?

The #4 Question I Get Asked Most

“How come your articles never have a point?”

Uh, because they do have a point! Just because you don’t like my Breaking Bad fan fiction, doesn’t mean my articles are pointless. Like this article you’re reading right here. It’s a genuine effort to answer the writing related questions I get asked most often. Times like this I know how Poe and Stoker and Rowling must have felt back in the 1800’s or whatever, when everyone was giving them a bunch of guff over what they were writing. Again, I’m not comparing myself to them. I’m just saying we’re the same.

The #5 Question I Get Asked Most

“Didn’t the first Harry Potter book come out 1990, not the 1800’s like you just said?”

Uh, it’s called a movie, folks. It’s different from books. I’ve had a book and two short stories published, so I probably know a little more than you do, okay? I haven’t read any of the books in the Harry Potter series, but I think they were written in like 1830. My wife and I argue about this all the time, since she claims to have read them all. Trust me, fellas, it’s good to let your wife think she’s right sometimes… But not when she’s wrong about books! Like when I told her the movie “Triple X”, starring Vin Diesel, was originally based on a novel. She says, “That’s the novelization of the movie. It came after the film was released. And why on Earth would you give it to me for Christmas two years in a row?” Well, I gave it to you because I know you like to read and I wanted to give you something you never read before. When you didn’t read it the first year, I figured you must have forgotten about it so I gave it to you again. But now you still haven’t read it. I’m honestly beginning to suspect you don’t appreciate the gift… the gift of Vin Diesel as extreme spy Xander Cage!

Thanks for reading my article titled More Writing Advice for Writers. You found it entertaining and informative.

5 Keys to Writing a Successful Article or Other Submission

The Wisconsin Northwoods has a lovely new arts and culture magazine these days. It’s called CadreZine, and so far there have been two issues published. Both issues have included an article of mine, and future issues will, too. Since most of the people I know don’t live in the CadreZine distribution area, I thought I’d share my article by using the power of the “internet.” Here it is, chump.

Hello, Readers! My name is Brent Kelley, and you probably don’t know me.  There’s a very good reason for that, but I assure you it isn’t that I don’t exist. I totally exist. Don’t make me prove it, though. I’m a master of anonymity, you see. Maybe someday I’ll write an article about how to become completely anonymous and have virtually no influence or presence. Only, if I ever write that article, there’s no way it’ll ever see the light of day. If such an article found its way to publication, it would lose all credibility, wouldn’t it?

But that’s all nonsense. This is a serious article. Just need a topic. Let’s think. OH! Here’s a great topic: Writing a Successful Article or Other Submission. We’re going to go through the 5 keys of creating an original, well-written article for submission to a magazine or short story anthology. Here goes:

The 5 Keys to Writing a Successful Article or Other Submission

1. Have Something To Say

I know, it’s easier said than done. I, for one, generally have nothing to say. Makes it tricky. When you don’t have anything to say, you’d best be good at the BS. That’s another problem I run into: I’m not good at the BS. You’d think I could at least come up with some sort of pro-Green Bay Packers BS, maybe including some statistics that other people haven’t been talking about. But no! Nothing. I think I might have a short attention span, because every time I sit down to write, something distracts me. Like this squirrel running around outside my window right now. Oh, he’s on my List, too. These dang squirrels keep dumping out my bird feeder and breaking into my garage. Let it be known that I was not the one who broke the truce. It was the squirrels.

2. How Did I Lose A Shoe?

Seriously, I had it a half hour ago when I went down to get the mail. I’d suspect the dog, but I don’t think he’s moved since this morning. He’s creepy. Yesterday I started to freak out because I thought he was dead. But then he wasn’t dead, and he licked my eyeball. That’s a weird sensation, but probably not for everyone. Like when those guys have a beard of bees? Not for everyone, and definitely not for me. I actually have some documentation proving a secret alliance between squirrels and bees, so I DOUBLE don’t trust them. I realize none of this is going to help me find my shoe. One time I found it in the freezer. After that I told my wife we might have ghosts, but she said I was an idiot and went back to her sewing or whatever.

3. I Don’t Believe In Ghosts Anyway

Except when I’m all alone late at night. I know what you’re saying: “Brent, I looked you up on the internet, and you’re like 40 or something. You have the mind of a child.” Well, fine. I guess that’s your opinion, but you’re WAY off on the age. My beard and handlebar mustache make me seem older and more distinguished than I am. Except when I’m shoveling snow in my old sweatpants with the paint on them. I think the sweatpants cancel out the mustache. It’s weird how nobody ever drives by when I’m at the top of the driveway, but when I’m down by the road? Man, it’s like gridlock down there! Plus, with my old, dirty work coat I guess I look like a hired hobo. Folks always try to give me old blankets and soup.

4. But I Was Talking About Ghosts

Back to ghosts, if only briefly. I know I said I don’t believe in them, except sometimes. And it’s true. We have this one ghost in our house (which I only believe in sometimes, like I mentioned before) who keeps rearranging our DVDs. I call him Norming, because his real name is Norman and I think it’s funny to mispronounce it on purpose. So Norming switches the DVD cases. You open up The Goonies, and there’s the disk for Scarface. So you open the case for Scarface, thinking The Goonies will be there, but you find Dodgeball. Norming is quite thorough in shuffling our DVDs. Pretty funny joke when you do it to someone else. Pretty annoying when it happens to you. I also recommend swapping the contents of someone’s kitchen drawers. They’ll think they’ve gone insane, but they won’t say anything about it. They’ll just quietly panic every time they go for a spoon and it’s not in the drawer they KNOW it’s supposed to be in.

5. Conclusion

In conclusion, I can’t remember what this article was supposed to be about. Kind of like this guy I knew. See, I knew a guy, and this was years ago, who used to raise quails. I said, “Hey, Wade (because his name was Wade. I think it was, anyway. Whatever, it’s not important to the story. Might have been Wayne. I don’t know. Honestly, I wanna say it started with an ‘H’.), how come you’re always raising those quails?” Well, he looks me right in the eye, jabs a finger in my chest, and he says, “It’s QUAIL. You don’t add an ‘S’ to quail to make it plural.” I still take issue with that. Maybe he’s right. I don’t know. I’m not going to check. But the point is that he missed my point. I asked him a question, and he answered something else. I feel like I’ve achieved that here. Stay tuned for my next article: The Best and Worst Soups As Given To Me By Passersby While I’m Shoveling My Driveway Because They Think I Am A Hobo.