Using Profanity in Writing

“#*&@!”

It finally happened, that point in every writer’s life when they must pause and decide if profanity should appear in their writing.

Profanity, swear words, curse words, words with meanings that change depending on the context, used in anger or ecstasy or just plain rudeness. Words a little stronger than bitch or ass, although depending on your opinion they might fall under the category.

Originally I had decided not to, as books I enjoy like Warhammer and the Hobbit don’t, and I was aiming for something similar. But then one of my characters experienced a situation where it just felt natural to say it. According to my editor Jesse, I need to make clear that the novel writes like this from the start so my audience would be aware.

It makes sense. Awesome novels like Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law trilogy, and George Martin’s now infamous Song of Ice and Fire series […]

Getting Back a Routine During the Pandemic

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It’s been a rough couple months. When the virus finally arrived in my country Trinidad and Tobago in March, just like the rest of the world, our government responded by shutting everything down and closing the borders.

This really broke my routine, and a routine is what keeps me working, doing all the projects and hobbies while drudging through the sludge of life.

So an average weekday usually involves an early morning commute to the office. A good breakfast came before work started. There’d be some gym/endurance training somewhere in there, and writing would be around 5-7pm before heading back home. If I’m lucky, some writing could even get done after 11pm when my son’s asleep (hopefully). The following day everything repeats. Friday evenings might see a visit to the local watering hole to decompress, and weekends involve some manner of chore/physical labour. Then we […]

Criteria for the Perfect Writing Space

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I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve sat to write at home and ended up with nothing.

I get to my chair or couch, crack my knuckles and put fingers to keyboard, only to end up watching television and falling asleep.

Then I wake up about 1 in the morning, curse when I remember I have to work the next day, run to the bedroom so fast that I almost trip over the couch, then wake up the next morning feeling guilty about not writing anything.

I usually promise myself I’ll get some writing done when I get back home, only to repeat the same process all over again, tripping over couch and all.

Now this wouldn’t be a problem if I could wake up 6am, all refreshed and ready to hit the day, and start writing.

But I […]

The Most Reliable Place a Writer Can Research Factual Information

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It’s a typical scenario.

You’ve got an amazing concept to explain or an awesome fiction story to tell.

So you start writing down the details. The words are flowing great, and the sentences are pouring out.

You feel as though you know exactly what you’re talking about. After all, you’ve thought about it so much that you’ve pretty much lived it.

And you know that when you’re finish and it’s ready to be shared with the world, everyone will love it.

Then suddenly, you hit an “unsure fact” obstacle. Your fingers skid across the keys. That inspirational tune playing in your mind comes to a scratching halt. It’s like slamming your F1 car straight into a wall.

Now you’re unsure about that last sentence you just typed because you just don’t know if it’s possible.

You’re wondering something like, what gear […]

Don’t Narrow Your Mind with Reading and Writing Like the Way I Did with Sports

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When I was growing up, I always thought the world only had three real sports: cricket, basketball, and football (or soccer in America).

Let’s call them the big three. Do anything else and you were just playing the fool.

And being a young male, the only way I could add any value to the human race was to pick a sport and excel at it.

Seeing that I had no interest in cricket, and that I had never seen a basketball court until my teens, my only option left was football.

Tried as I might, till this day I have never excelled in football, which by extension of my world meant I never excelled in sports.

This narrowed perspective on sports stems from school, and it also extended into my reading and writing activities.

But There’s More Than Just the Big […]

Writing Inspiration from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge

Photo courtesy SyFy

I cursed the day when man filmed the first reality show.

There’s nothing more annoying than someone being followed by a camera and talking useless trivia.

But I didn’t realise that reality shows also spanned to people with a purpose (and I’ve been watching Pawn Stars all this time).

The latest, and surprisingly inspiring, is Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge on SyFy channel.

For a fantasy writer like me, coming across this show was like tripping over an ancient Egyptian vase in your back yard.

Who is Jim Henson?

So in case you didn’t know, Jim Henson is the creator of the Muppets. He also created several characters in Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, and the Storyteller, and his studio produced movies like Dark Crystal and the Labyrinth.

While he passed away several years ago, he left quite a legacy.

In the reality show Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge, […]

The Real Purpose of Facebook for Writers

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I’ll just go ahead and say it: I hate Facebook.

With that, I could imagine music scratching to a halt, loud gasps filling the air, and chairs dragging on the floor as everyone turns to see who is the weirdo that dared to make such a blasphemous statement.

But it’s true, and I say it without apology.

Just a couple of seconds on the damn site fills me with more pain than having to watch a marathon of Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

Why Do I Hate Facebook So Much?

It’s too distracting.

Everyone’s poking everything, inviting you to play Candy Crush, checking out pictures, sending flirty messages. Basically doing nothing productive (and I already spend enough time doing nothing productive).

You would think that a place as text intensive as Facebook would be a writer’s dream, right?

But it’s not.

Reason being is […]

Collecting Rejections for My Writing

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So I’m pretty much finished writing my first novel, Guardian of the Cursed Crown.

After two and a half years, five drafts, and advice from beta readers, I’d say it’s almost ready for the world.

From here I can go two ways. The first is to get an agent. Once I’ve hooked one, then she will get a professional editor, a book cover designer, and push to get it published.

Now, actually getting an agent is one of those many things in the world that’s easy to say but hard to do.

So How Exactly do You Get an Agent?

I’ve been finding agents through blogs like Writer’s Digest. Note that not every agent is interested in every genre, so it’s always good to read their about page.

If an agent is suitable, you shoot them a query letter, […]

A Fantasy Writer at NGC Bocas Literature Fest

I always thought writing was a solo affair.

Why wouldn’t it be? You don’t need other people around to write. All you need is a pen and paper (or a laptop).

But it’s actually recommended that writers band together to improve their craft.

We need to let other writers read and criticize our work from a writer’s perspective. Are the characters believable? Is the dialogue on point? How’s the story arc? Is this an info dump?

That’s how writers get better.

The best way to do this is with a writing group.

So where can I find a group of writers to hang out with in Trinidad? Well, the NGC Bocas Literature Fest, of course.

It sounded like a good idea in theory, but in practice, not so much.

So What is the NGC Bocas Literature Fest?

It’s an annual conference held in Trinidad and Tobago at Port-of-Spain’s national library that covers as much about books and […]

Can You Travel and Write? Here’s My Answer

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I had the pleasure of visiting California recently to attend a conference. The concept was that, while I attended the conference during the day, I would continue my writing during the night (and early mornings) just like what I normally do at home in sweet Trinidad and Tobago.

It would be like I never left. Easy enough, right?

Except, I was not at home. I did leave.

I was in an entirely different country. And because of that, I did absolutely no writing at all.

Have you ever experienced this? Is travelling and writing (or any other hobby, exercise maybe) a problem?

It is for me. I know because this isn’t the first time I’ve tried.

Why Can’t I Travel and Write?

For me, the problem happens because there’s too much action going on. The conference had all these after hour social events, […]