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My old writing teacher impressed upon us to write what we mean.

“Don’t be afraid to be direct and forward in your writing.”

Take this phrase:

“Weak writing never takes a position.”

vs.

“It seems like most of the writing these days is really weak and not opinionated in the slightest.”

That one asshole friend you have generates the same amount of rage as a smug author. But you have to respect it. Confidence levels will bleed through anything you create. There is just no way around that.

Painter. Bold colors or safe soft colors?

Programmer. Simple procedural reused code or innovative optimized Objects?

Ice Sculptor. Another castle or a giant detailed omnipotent dragon prepared to smote down anyone brave enough to catch the cold icy stare?

However, balance must be had in all things. You can’t write an entire volume of direct statements or there would be no harmony to your prose. The beauty of written language has and always be the ability to weave a magickal tale that your readers will never forget.

That is all for today. Be strong and don’t let yourself be pulled in any one direction when it comes to your craft. Keep to your own road. People will respect you for that in the end and you will have created something to be proud of.

April 15th, 2015

Posted In: The Craft of Writing, writing101

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Music is one of those colorful things in life that don’t serve any great purpose in our mammalian survival instincts. The pings, twangs, booms, strums, screams and swishes of a great song do something to us on another level that make them important to us.

For all the advances in technology and all the theorizing of time travel through the ages -music is still the best time machine there is. You know what I mean.

The #1 most important song in my life is (sometimes sadly) the one that is stuck in my head right now.

That song happens to be Witchy Woman by the Eagles. By the time I am done writing this sentence the most important song is Redfoo’s Ridiculous. You see people don’t actually think about songs they way they sit and think about an important decision. Lyrics and beats (at least for me) are floating around in my head like a swirl of unstable particles just waiting for that catalyst forcing a mini big bang in my brain. Every once in a while the stereo in my head decides to play a track based on my mood or something I’ve seen, smelled, touched or just experienced. Even a simple memory can illicit a new track to push play. DJ Brain knows what it wants me to hear so that is why his current pick is the most important.

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April 8th, 2015

Posted In: Personal, The Craft of Writing, writing101

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I signed up for a Writing 101 Course through dailypost.wordpress.com and had forgotten about it until this morning when I got the first email with the “exercise” for the day. Apparently this is a 20 day program to work on story telling and blogging in general. Now I haven’t really written anything except technical blog posts since NanoWriMo of last year (Winner!). So this 20 day exercise seems like it hit me at the right time as I’ve become quite excited to try it out.

Test

You owe it to yourself to go out there, REALLY get dirty, shamed, embarrassed, experience REAL victory and experience the reality of what it means to write.

Last year was my second NanoWriMo victory. Doing those novels once a year has taught me twice now that I have the ability to dedicate myself to a daily goal and complete it. Not just any goal -but a WRITING goal. Writing everyday is like going to the gym. It is difficult to get into the routine of writing regularly at first but once you are in the groove it just becomes something you do like taking a shower or eating dinner. This is true for most ANYTHING in life that you need to do in repetition to be better (eating healthy, playing an instrument, etc.).

The exercise for today is to Free Write for 20 minutes. The timer started as soon as I typed the first sentence. I’m a big believer in stream of consciousness writing to get the brain working so I enjoy exercises like these. They say that writing is like a muscle and they are right (write?). There are more people who don’t write anything claiming to be writers than those that are actually in the trenches cranking out words. The actual literary foot soldiers do not have the time nor desire to vomit on their social feeds about their accomplishments. But the “wannabes” sure have plenty of time to tell the world what they are (not) doing.

I had plans this year for my writing. I composed a big list of all these literary competitions I was going to enter. The list just stares at me from my starred email items now as my fiance and I had a baby in February. He was very early at 32 weeks or so. With the new addition to our family my work suddenly became a priority as my primal need to be a provider took over my artistic side. Being a legit family man and the sole income generator shifted me into a new mindset that is already barely being held up by a questionable foundation.  Things are settling down now and available time to work on my own interests is creeping back into my life. This makes me a happy guy as I don’t quite feel whole if I am not progressing or accomplishing SOMETHING everyday.

I do feel a tinge of anxiety about even making this post. If you were to judge my writing 100% on this website I STOPPED sometime five years ago. This will be the first post I have made in a VERY long time and here I am going to slam 20 of them in a row? If that doesn’t put my feet to the fire to actually write more -nothing will. Even going back and listening to some of these Podcasts I made and thought were BAD makes me a bit nervous because the reality is this: “They are actually pretty good.” So there is something here…

The funny thing though about writing is the romance within ones mind about it. For most aspiring writers it is like a lover you watch from a great distance but have never actually talked to. You can’t even really see her features but oh you see her form and you imagine what a wonderful life you could have together. You play it out so much in your mind that you never actually go an talk to her because it can’t get any better than what you have already imagined.

But it isn’t true and you are not being honest with yourself. You owe it to yourself to go out there, REALLY get dirty, shamed, embarrassed, experience REAL victory and experience the reality of what it means to write.

Time Spent: 20 Minutes

Music: Halestorm’s album “Strange Case of…”

April 6th, 2015

Posted In: The Craft of Writing, writing101

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I pulled another cassette from the old box.  Things were beginning to go in slow motion for me now during these listening sessions.  I imagined the classical ambient musical score at the end of a war film.  The brave solider you fell in love with getting killed in a hail of gunfire.  Red mist exploding from each new bullet hole as the actor convulses from the supposed inertia of it all and you living that split second of life in minutes on film.

Bach’s Cello Suite One in G major suites me just fine.  I hear it, as my hand clutches the plastic  tape of the blind man.  Each quick pull of the cello’s bow resonates within me and I slow my breathing.  I rub my thumb on  the pattern of scratches in the plastic.  None of these tapes have numbers, just a series of scored  hash marks to indicate their order in the sequence.  I put on my headphones and push play.  Bach fades out and the black curtain descends as the blind man once again narrates our life.

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July 23rd, 2009

Posted In: Short Stories, The Craft of Writing, zEverything

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I try to keep things pretty much the same here.  The process is simple: write story -> edit story -> record story -> post story to website.  That is pretty much what composes dannymachal.com.  Keeps it from getting personal, and keeps me from contributing “nothing” to the blog universe; you see that so many other places.  So keeping that in mind I feel this is important.  Part of becoming a writer is respecting the people you look up to and becoming part of a team.  A team that encourages each other and helps spread the word for each other.  So let’s talk about the thrill ride that my hopefully future teammate JC Hutchins authored: Personal Effects – Dark Art.

Hutchins’s book is about a man suspected in 12 murders.  He is currently being held at Brinkvale Psychiatric Hospital and his name is Martin Grace.  Martin Grace isn’t your average killer/crazy person, for he is also, blind.  Now, Personal Effects – Dark Art is told through the eyes of hipster art therapist Zach Taylor.  Zach helps the insane by letting them express themselves through art work, painting, quilting, etc.  He gets assigned to the Grace case and has a week to determine if Grace is sane enough to go to trial.

Personal Effects – Dark Art takes you into the mind of a complete mad man.  Martin Grace claims there is a force that rules him, he talks about, the “Dark Man.”  Even Zach isn’t immune to the Dark Man’s infectious evil and finds himself slowly being sucked into his own psychosis as he unravels the dark details of not only himself, but also Mr. Grace.  Things are not what they seem with Brinkvale’s newest resident, and Zach must learn that.  He must discover it all, even dipping into his own personal darkness.

This is more than a story you just read and walk away from.  Look at these pictures I took.

See all that?  Those are the photos, birth certificates, death certificates, identification cards, scribbled notes, forgotten letters, ancient accommodations and other important documents that are all part of the Personal Effects – Dark Art universe.  Go to My Flickr! page to get the big versions.  It isn’t just a bunch of paper and plastic, no, there are websites and contact numbers.  That is MY cell phone with Zach Taylor’s phone number.  Call it, I dare you!  Zach isn’t the only number in my phone, there are other numbers I discovered as I read through the book.

When I first got the book I spread out all the stuff that comes with it (as you see) and started to take notes and organize myself.  That is the notebook you see there.  I was glad I did, there is SO much extra stuff beyond these written pages I can’t even begin to tell you.  Well I could, but Zach Taylor does a better job.  I got it on Thursday of last week and I stayed up until 3 a.m.  I finished reading all the text but then I spent two days just exploring the rest of the Personal Effects – Dark Art world.  It is truly the evolution of story telling.  No movie, no game, and no television program will ever get you as involved in a story as Hutchins’s revolutionary method.  Get yourself a copy and check it out!

Click here to get it!

If this isn’t enough – Hutchins has started releasing the prequel novella to Personal Effects – Dark Art.  It is called Sword of Blood and if you ask me, it is way more bat shit crazy than Personal Effects.  Sword of  Blood also started me on a personal quest, a secret quest.  shhhhhhhhhh

p.s. The story hasn’t ended for me, I don’t know that it ever will.  I tore out page 179 and I carry it with me now.  You were wrong Hutch, it does mean something, and I will figure out what.

June 17th, 2009

Posted In: Personal, The Craft of Writing, zEverything

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