Best Music of 2018

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As I said last year, I like to listen to music while writing. It helps me stay focused and tune out any background noise. But if I’m writing (or reading) words, I find other words distracting, so I usually listen to instrumental music (mainly electronic/ambient). I listened to a lot of older albums, and I’m always discovering new artists (and old artists new to me), but these were my favorite albums (released in 2018) to write to: Continue reading

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Top 10 Fiction Books I Read in 2018

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The big theme of this year’s list is short stories and short story collections. I’ve recently been drawn to shorter fiction, both as a reader and a writer. I love being able to finish a story in one sitting. The best part of any story is the ending—it makes or breaks the story—which is why I’m not so much a fan of long-running multi-book series (or television shows). There’s only so much time in the day, and while some series are worth the length (like Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicle), I can’t afford to read too many series. I prefer standalone novels or something even shorter, like novellas, novelettes, and short stories. By reading short fiction, I’m able to get a complete story with a (hopefully) satisfying ending, plus read a wider selection of different authors and genres. Continue reading

Top 10 Nonfiction Books I Read in 2018

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At all times, I am reading at least one fiction book and one nonfiction book. The nonfiction subjects vary: science, history, philosophy, psychology, and writing. There’s so much I want to learn about the world and so little time to do it. The nonfiction books I read often inspire and influence the fiction I write, though really I’m just hoping to learn something new from each book I read, and I learned a lot from those I read this past year. Continue reading

The 10 Best Movies 10 Years or Older I Saw in 2018

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Last year, I vowed to see more old movies in 2018 to improve this annual list, but halfway through the year, I was failing to do so. I was a MoviePass subscriber, so I spent most of my free time seeing new movies in the theater. When MoviePass changed their deal toward the end of the summer, I canceled my plan, which was a blessing in disguise because I suddenly had a lot more free time to watch older movies. There are so many classics I’ve yet to see, plus masterpieces I want to rewatch. The ten-year rule is kind of arbitrary, but a decade is a good benchmark to judge a film outside of its original context. You can see how it stacks up in history and if it stands the test of time. Again, this is a somewhat random list, based on the movies (at least ten years old) that I happened to watch (or re-watch) this past year. Continue reading

Best of 2018: Comics

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Saga, Vol. 9 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

With the year winding down, it’s time to compile my “Best of the Year” lists, which is becoming an annual tradition. I’ll start with the best comic books I read in 2018. They weren’t necessarily published in 2018 (though some were). Continue reading

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

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Where do you get your ideas? That seems to be a question that every writer hates. Most don’t have an answer. It almost seems kind of magical how ideas come to them. But I don’t think it’s magic at all. I think I know how every writer and artist gets their ideas: data inputs to their consciousness. Continue reading

Writing is a Transfer of Consciousness

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I’ve always been more comfortable writing than speaking. But beyond the comfort level, there’s a power to writing, or recording your ideas, that speaking lacks. When you write something, it is recorded on paper or online forever. Any human now or in the future for hundreds, thousands, millions, even billions of years, could read what you had to say. That seems so much more powerful and important than communicating in person, wherein whatever you say is lost in the wind of the universe forever. One person (or small group) hears it, then it’s gone forever. Continue reading