Super Sonnet Sunday (Just a day or so late): I Don’t Know How To Write A Poem

I don’t know how to write a poem,

My heart has never been quite that broken,

I fill my soul with a great totem,

Only to leave the words unspoken.

I’ll write a song the birds will sing,

In the sky while they dip and dive,

At the dawning of the spring,

May the heavens ever thrive.

But the earth there withers and dies,

Mountains of burning fiery hate,

Through a veil of little white lies,

I have come to seek my fate.

With these final words upon my lips,

I hope you forgive my apocalypse.

Short Story Saturday: Raw Footage, The Adventures of Gallan Blackenstar

So, gotta be pretty straight up about this. This story isn’t exactly finished, but I find it’s one of my favorites, so I felt the need to share it. The story is based around a… well you’ll see. Anyway, it’s a story I’ve planned on coming back to work on. Just haven’t gotten around to doing it.

I also gave it the extra category of Raw Footage because this is little more than the first draft relating to the story. I did a little clean up, but it wasn’t more than cutting out a few words and correcting some of the grammatical issues. Hope you enjoy!


“This is a stick up!”

The short balding man yelled it as he and four other men busted down the door to the lady governor’s parlor. The four of them wore clothes befitting only gutter trash, but their weapons were far from what one could come by on the street. Two black powder rifles, one black powder pistol, and one six-shot repeater; all of them navy issue. The repeater was an officer’s weapon. One might wonder how the men came by them. Each also wore either a long knife or a sword strapped to their hip.

They aimed their weapons every which way, pointing them at one noble, followed by another, without any real proficiency. There was nothing professional about them. It was kind of sickening.

As the four of them spread out through the room, one individual strolled forward, moving at a slow calculated pace, like a panther on the prowl. His eyes darted around the room; not because he was looking for an escape; not because he was afraid; merely because positioning was everything in this game.

“I said, ‘This is a stick up!’” the balding man repeated. He jerked his pistol—the single shot black powder pistol—forward in an attempt to appear more threatening. And, like the peep of chickens they were, the nobles started to realize the trouble they were in. Their very lives were in danger.

More importantly, to many of them, their stuff was in danger.

Many hands went into the air. Drinks spilled. Glass broke. Silverware clattered. All of it dropped to the ground. Dropped by the hands of those who would do nothing to help anyone but themselves.

Still a soul individual moved forward. The short balding man was just now catching onto the movement.

“I’ve always wondered about that phrase,” the individual said in a rich baritone. He strolled out of the crowd and towards the lead gunman, moving in a half circle, so that his back faced the far wall. There was nobody behind him in that direction, a small measure to keep any stray projectiles from finding a home in a noble’s body… much as said noble might deserve that fate. “What’s the etymology of it? It’s so… threatening, but all you’re really doing is telling people to put their arms in the air. Why is that? What’s so safe about having a man hang his arms in the air?”

“Ety…what?” The short balding man said. He looked at the individual with a wide eyed confused expression. The devil grinned back at him.

The individual was much more than that. He was a man, to an extent. His lineage was half elven, and he possessed the grace and form of his mother’s bloodline. His father’s half showed too, in the tousled black hair on his head, and the thin and sharp goatee and moustache combination he wore. His eyes were a bright blue, almost jolly. There wasn’t the slightest hint of danger about the half elf. Still he pressed forward.

“I don’t care where the what’s it’s came from.” The short blading man said. “Now get yer shadow blighted arms in the air!”

He turned the gun on the half elf, but the half elf didn’t look alarmed.

“I’m afraid I can’t do that,” the half elf said. “You see, there’s a lovely carpet in here that’s quite expensive, and the drink I’m holding is almost certain to leave a stain large enough to ruin the carpet.”

The half elf shrugged. He took a sip of his drink. His eyes once again flicked around the room, faster than the short balding man could notice. He paid particular attention to the westward facing window, and made a few slight steps in that direction.

Unconsciously, the short balding man made the same movements, to compensate for the new distance between him and the half elf.

“I don’t care about yer bloody drink, get yer hands in the air!”

“Now you’re trying to confuse me,” the half elf said, pointing at the ring leader of the little circus of fools. He turned and lifted his drink, a clear martini in a thin necked crystal glass, in the same direction he’d just pointed. Almost like he was toasting the ring leader.


“You’re trying to confuse me,” the half elf said. “First you wanted me to put my arms in the air, and now you want me to put my hands in the air?” He shook his head. “It just doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s got to be one or the other. I can’t put both my arms and my hands in the air.”

“Uh…” the ring leader said. He shook his head, and pointed the gun at the half elf, trying to drop an exclamation mark on their conversation. “Do you want me to shoot you?” the ring leader said after a minute. After he caught on to the confusing bit about the hands. “I can. I wouldn’t mind shooting you at all if you’re going to keep playing hero.”

“Hero?” the half elf said. He looked back at the crowd around him. The nobles. All of them with their hands stuck up in the air, all the condescending twits that didn’t deserve to leave this room alive. All of them were hanging on his every last word, like he was their buoy pointing out the truly dangerous waters before their ship could run aground.

The half elf’s eyes landed on the lady governor. Eliza Flowers, a young woman trapped in a world she most certainly didn’t belong in. She hated it here, hated playing nice to people who would gladly stab her in the back, hated playing the game of politics, all to keep her sickly father in the position that was his by birthright. If it hadn’t been for these nobles, this never would have happened.

He smiled at her, the half elf and the lady governor, his roguish charm was turned all the way up in that smile, and from her he thought he caught the lightest glimmer of hope.

“I’m no hero,” the half elf said, turning back to the other man.

And the half elf had to admit, this was a lucrative business venture. These men had the right idea, storming in on a high class soiree like this would produce a veritable mountain of cash and treasure. These men might have had the right idea, but they were lacking. This is an event planned over a matter of days and weeks leading up to the actual party. These men were thrown together within a few hours, given guns they barely understood how to use. After all, wouldn’t the ring leader have landed himself the repeater instead of a single shot? If he knew anything about the weapon that was.

There seemed to be no sense as to how the group was ran. It was easy for the half elf to tell this was only the tip of a much larger iceberg. Be that as it may, the group still needed to be dealt with, using extreme prejudice.

The half elf smiled again. He turned, sipped his drink, and set it down on a serving cart. The skinniest of the four men had moved around behind him. This was the one with the repeater, and a long knife. He was within arm’s reach.

“I’m no hero,” he repeated, and smiled as he looked over the ring leader’s shoulder. “And you could try to shoot me, but you would never hit me.”

“Oh, and why’s that?”

“I can’t be hit,” he shrugged as he said it.

“That so?” the balding man said. “Well, it just so happens that I’ve never missed a shot.”

“Seems we’re at an impasse then,” the half elf said.

The short balding man pulled the hammer back on the black powder pistol. “I’m gonna kill ya, that much is sure. But I wanna know who you are first. Every man should die with a name.”

Oh, you wound me,” the half elf said. “I thought my reputation had preceded me.”

“Just answer the question. I’m tired of yer flapping lips.”

“I’m sorry you feel that way, but if you must know, my name is Gallan, Gallan Blackenstar.” Gallan paused for a moment, waiting for the moment of dawning comprehension. There was none. “Although, I was knighted once, so I guess it would be Sir Gallan Blackenstar.”

“Heh, it’ll be fun knowing I killed a knight then. Something I’ll tell my grandchildren.”

“Not likely,” Gallan said. “My job description is going to put a damper on that. I’m Gallan Blackenstar. I get the girl. I kill the bad guys. I look damn good doing it. And on one final note, your time is up.”

“Oh, re…” that was as far as he made when the musical sound of breaking glass seemed to dominate the air. An arrow slammed into the back of the short balding man’s head. The blood and brain slicked arrow head stuck out six inches from the hollow of his left eye. The fletching was the only thing visible from the back.

A collective gasp rose from all those in the room, including the other three circus fools. Gallan made use of the hesitation.

He spun on one heel and grabbled the hilt of the skinniest man’s knife. He drew the weapon, and drove it into the man’s chest. The bright shining steel going right through his heart. As the man fell, Gallan moved his hands quick as lightning, taking the repeater out of the dead man’s hand and spinning.

He brought the gun level with the first riflemen, and the gun barked.

Blood and brains sprayed out the back of the man’s head, coating the wall in gore.

The second rifleman, knowing how this would end, dropped his rifle and charged for the door.

The non-heroic half elf, had the fourth man in his sights. He gently squeezed the trigger.

Again, the gun barked, but it wasn’t the man’s head that exploded in a cloud of gore.

The bullet hit the man’s right knee, shattering the bone there, and making forward motion all but impossible. He pitched forward, when he tried to put his weight on that leg, but the pain he felt would have been unlike anything he’d known before.

He started to cry, and beg for his life.

Gallan looked from the man on the ground, to the one propped up against the wall, and on to the ring leader with his head hanging six or so inches off the floor. The arrow refusing to budge from its position. Then Gallan looked up and out the window, he smiled and waved, giving an all clear sign. Then he turned for the governess.

“And, what was all that ‘Sir’ Blackenstar?” Eliza Flowers said, moving through the room, not as carefully as one might expect. She drug her dress through dirt and food and blood, and she went so far as to step right over the ring leader’s corpse. Gallan looked at her, and started to make a reply, but she struck him with the flat of her palm.

Gallan took two steps back, already off balance. What he got was more conflict, what he’d been expecting was a victory hug, or kiss, but this is Eliza Flowers…

“I thought I did a convincing job of saving you, and all of your noble guests,” Gallan said. He smiled at her. A bright red hand print slowly showing on his face.

“And, how am I to know you didn’t bring them here yourself,” Eliza said. “I don’t remember putting your name on my guest list.”

The half elf sighed. He shrugged. “I had a bad feeling. Thought you might be in danger. So, I dropped in. I guess I was wrong though. It looked like you had the circus of fools under control.” He gave a wicked smile at the end.

Her face had gone red.

“The guards here, are more than capable of taking care of any danger that might be present,” Eliza said. She slowed her breathing, tried to slow her heart rate, and prayed her face was cooling off. “That is why I hired them.”

“And, it looked like they did a wonderful job.”

For that Eliza didn’t have an answer. She opened her mouth, and closed it. Opened it again. Closed it again.

“You owe me a window…and a new carpet.”

She turned away from Gallan, rubbing at her neck. Rubbing it like Gallan was the pain nestled right there in the muscles at the back of the skull.

“Hey,” Gallan said. Eliza didn’t turn around. “I tried to save the carpet.”

She said nothing.

Gallan huffed.

“Well, I did,” he said to no one but himself.


The question here, I suppose is will there be any more of this story. I hate to give you a taste of it and then say nothing’s going to come of it. But, I can promise you, I’ve got some big things planned for Gallan Blackenstar. A continuation/expansion of this story is almost certainly one of the ideas in the old hopper.

Anywho, hope you enjoyed it, and if you did please feel free to leave a comment. Also leave a comment if you saw any errors or potential points of improvement, constructive criticism is always welcome. And, while you’re busy leaving those comments, you should also spare a thought and like and share the post on all of your social media platforms. Thanks 😀

The Arkham Rat: The Bat, the Cat, and the Rat

Hello, hello, hellooo, and welcome to the first ever issue of the Arkham Rat, written by me, Mr. J, everybody’s favorite clown prince of crime.

And, I do hope you read that in Mark Hamill’s near perfect imitation of yours truly. I really do find that he’s the best.


You’re surprised I know about that?

You’re surprised to know that I know about you?

What? Did you think the “merc with a mouth” was the only character to hear voices. I’m the Joker, the clown prince of crime; I’m known for being insanity made flesh. And, you think I don’t hear voices.

Hahahaaaa. What a laugh!

Do you really believe you’re any more real than I am? Have you never questioned your existence?

You should.

It gives you a wonderful break from the boring, dreary world of sanity.

I seem to be digressing though.

I do that from time to time. Drone on and on with seemingly no point to what I’m saying. Some might call it monologing, where I go over my mad plans in excruciating detail whilst giving the Bat, or whatever other do-gooder is at hand, time to break free from the trap I’ve caught them in.

Oh, who am I kidding? Well thought out plan…


That’s a real good one. Punchline turned out perfect too.


I’m digressing from my digressing.

Just call me the clown prince of digression!


So, the point.

There was one.

At one point.


The title. The point had something to do with the title… I don’t remember what the title was. I had that written down somewhere around here.

Aha! I found it! The Bat, the Cat, and the Rat! It was meant to be a lovely piece about the defiling of Gotham’s PG rated rooftops.

The Cat has a thing for a certain Bat, and the feelings are obviously reciprocated. Hehehehe. I’m betting that’s why the Cat’s presence has never graced the halls of Arkham Asylum. I’ve never seen her at the very least. Of course I hardly ever see anyone. They don’t let me out of my cell, and they barely let me up off of my bed. They’re convinced I’m a danger to the other patients. I don’t know what would give them that impression. Hahahahaaa…

I’m surprised they gave me a pencil.

Although, I know a little magic trick I think I’ll show one of the guards later.

Hmm… will have to file that one away.

But, I’m digressing again! Ha!

I’ll round back to the point now by saying I don’t know how they’re managing to keep their identities such a secret. What, with all the pleather, leather, and body armor flying about. And, just how in the name of me does he get that bloody breast plate off without taking off the cowl. I’ve hit that thing before… it just happens to be extremely hard. Nearly broke my hand. Note to self; aim for the head next time. Second note to self; use a gun, don’t punch him. Third note to self; but I don’t want to kill him. Fourth note to self; he’s the Bat, living or dead, hitting him is going to hurt. Hmm… well I guess you do have a point there. Fifth note to self; a crow bar is always an option. You sir, are a devious devil. Hahahahaaaa…

Anyway, they’re shutting the lights off for the night, and I won’t be able to see my hand in front of my face. For some reason they think I might try to escape if I had a room with windows. So, for now, I shall bid you adieu and good night. Don’t sleep too tightly though, you never know what Jokers might be dancing through your dreams.


Disclaimer: I would like to state that Batman, the Joker, Catwoman, and all references to Gotham City and Arkham Asylum are the intellectual property of DC comics. They are used here purely for entertainment purposes without any thought towards financial gain. Any other likenesses, celebrity names and the like, are used purely in a humorous and satirical fashion. There is no intent to hurt or harm anybody’s reputation or business.


Beating One’s Self to a Pulp

Just to make a short note, I am writing this post on Monday the 7th, so the intention to write a post and submit it is still there. But, I’m having a little technological issue.
In other words, I forgot my phone at home. >.>
So, it’s likely you won’t see this post until Tuesday, even though I’m going to make an attempt to remember to post it as soon as I get home from work. The best laid plans of mice and men, though.
Anyway, on another topic, I did straight up forget to post on Sunday. I’d had such a good streak going, and then a day of World of Warcraft and homework messed it all up. I even thought about making the post about halfway through the day. It was one of those passing passive thoughts though. Not one where I was like: Yeah! We should do this! Do it! Do it! Do it! Shia LeBouf did not knock down my door and start yelling angry motivational things at me. That didn’t happen, and it’s not like I put forth any effort to make the thought happen.
But, that takes us right around to the topic I did want to discuss today: Self Deprecation
If you’ve ever heard the adage “you are your own worst critic”, self deprecation takes that statement a step farther. “You are your own worst enemy.” When you self deprecate nothing anybody else ever says is going to be worse than what you say to yourself. In fact, those things other people say become fuel to the fires of your self loathing. It doesn’t matter if those are nice things are not, to the mind of someone self deprecating those words will be twisted into a knife.
“I like your hair,” becomes “My hair must look horrible if she’s saying that. She can’t mean that my hair is really nice. My hair is never nice. I bet I have a mega cow lick in the back, and now that she’s out of ear shot she’s laughing her head off at me. My hair sucks. My life sucks. Everything just f***ing sucks.”
You might think this is me exaggerating to make a point. I’m not. Being someone who deals with this sort of thinking every single day I can vouch for the verisimilitude of the thought process.
The effects of this thinking are far more widespread than just making you feel bad for a little while. This type of thinking can absolutely destroy your entire life, hurting not only you, but everybody around you.
Self deprecative thoughts can be started by the simplest thing. “Oh I got a B on that exam, I ruined my perfect 4.0, I’m a total failure.” “Why do those boys keep making fun of me? Is there something wrong with me?” And, 9 times out of 10 this either stems from low self esteem, or it creates low self esteem. The two are basically hand in hand.
Self deprecation can also come alongside a wide array of mental disorders: chronic and seasonal depression, bi-polar disorder, OCD, borderline personality disorder just to name a few. Mania should most likely be in there as well. I’m not a medical expert however, so take what I say in relation to this with a grain of salt.
Now, to get down to the point and discuss what the most destructive part of self deprecation: The Cycle of Failure.
And, the Cycle of Failure is something we shall discuss on the morrow.
I would also like to give a shout out to Iain Kelly, Austin L. Wiggins, and semiprowriter. Thank you for the follow, and I hope you enjoy the show.
And, if you enjoy the show, and want to keep seeing more of Mr. Kinsgrove, please remember to follow the blog, then like and share it on all of your social media platforms.
Consecutive Days Blogging: 1 ish


So, once again I forgot to set the Arkham Rat post to publish this morning. And since I want that to be a series posting on Friday I’ll wait to post it next Friday. What I will do, though, is set it up to post when I get home tonight, that way I don’t have to try to remember to post it.

As for today’s discussion, I believe I’m going to focus on the title subject, and talk about just how forgetful I am. And let me assure you right now, I am very friggin forgetful.

You know the old adage: You’d forget your head if it wasn’t attached. This is very true in my case. 

At work we have key cards to get into the building. I’ve got mine on a lanyard and I hang it over my review mirror. Everyday one of my carpool mates has to remind me to grab it. If he didn’t I wouldn’t remember the thing until I got to the door and found I couldn’t get in.

Another example of my forgetfulness is chores. Getting me to do things at the house is a royal pain in the rear. Just ask my wife. She’ll ask me to do something and I’ll say I will. Then she has to ask me about it again and again and again before I actually get around to doing it. And that’s if she’s not gotten past the point of frustration and did it herself. 

Yet another example is knowing what I have to do while I’m on one room, then walking into another room and having absolutely no idea why I went in there.

You really can’t imagine how incredibly frustrating this is for me. I forget to do things I promised I’d do for other people. Then not do it. Now, not only do I have somebody angry at me, but I’ve got this intense feeling of failure digging into the back of my brain. One I can’t get rid of no matter what I do. And all of that feeds into the cycle of failure, because now those people won’t ask me to help them anymore, figuring I won’t remember to do it, and that will leave me depressed because I like helping people. 😔

It’s also not like I’ve tried to do things to overcome this personality flaw. I’ve tried lists and charts and setting reminders on my phone, but none of it has mattered. I’ll look at the list and say I’ll remember to do that later. I make the charts, then forget to check them. And the reminders on my phone I’ll just push whatever button I need to to get the notification to go away.

All of it just really sucks, and I don’t know how to change it. 😕

If any of you have any suggestions that might help please leave them in the comments. And to help the blog grow please like and share it on all your social platforms. 

One more thing, I’m sorry this post became me whining about life. I’ll try not to let it happen again, but I make no promises.

Consecutive Days Blogging: 5

(At least I’ve managed to remember to blog.)

Sleeping Destroyed

So, this totally isn’t the post I wanted to make today. I was planning on starting my Arkham Rat series today, one I’m going to try to turn into a regular Friday feature, but I thought it was Thursday when I got up this morning and didn’t set it up to post. 

That being said, I do have a topic I’ve had in mind for a while. One that I’ve been thinking about for years in fact. It’s about sleep.

I have a terrible time getting to sleep. But when I do get to sleep I’m damn near impossible to wake up. I’ve never found an alarm clock that will wake me up. And I know this is super frustrating for my wife because I depend on her to get me up, like I’m a damn 10 year old getting ready for school. 😑

Anyway, I’ve had a solution to it tumbling around I my head since I first heard about the condition. 

There are people in the world who are permanent insomniacs. Due to some insane circumstance they’re not able to sleep. Not at all. Zip. Zero. Zilch. They still have to lay down for a couple of hours to allow their minds some rest, but other than that they don’t sleep.

For me that seems like a godsend. Exactly what I need to get ahead in life. I’ve toyed with the idea of having the sleep center of my brain surgically destroyed to create this condition. And each time I think about it, I know there’s not a doctor on the face of this earth that would preform the procedure. Not for the amount of money I could offer for it anyway. (Which is practically $0 by the way. Mainly because my wife wouldn’t let me. 😆) 

Meaning I’ve got to find some other way of coping with my sleeping problems. When I figure it out I’ll let you in on the secret. And if you have any suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments. And if you might want to help the blog grow, consider liking and sharing it on all your social media networks. I would be super appreciative, and might consider naming my first born after you. 

Anywho, that’s all for now.

Consecutive Days Blogging: 4

10 Ways to Fail at Being a Writer (And Why You Should Do the Opposite) Part 2

Here’s a conveniently placed link, just in case you missed the first part of this post.

Don’t worry. I’ll wait while you get caught up.

Read it? Good.

Before we get started, I just wanted to say I have this horrible habit of being really long winded and super wordy. I’ve never quite learned the lesson that I need to kill my children… err… words. I need to kill my words. Or something like that. Anyway, what I’m getting at is you’re going to have to forgive me for writing overly long posts and then breaking them up into an arbitrary number of parts.

And, now… let’s get back on the path to failure.

  1. Don’t Read Inside Your Genre

I read that somewhere, as actual advice someone was giving. Thought I think the person giving the advice was making fun of the person who originally said it. But, on the path to failure, it’s a golden nugget of information. Reading inside your genre would give you an idea of what’s been done before, it will also expose you to different writing styles, world building techniques, and about a hundred other factors that would be super important in improving your writing.

But, Mr. Kinsgrove, my writing is already perfect, and I’ve got this awesome story idea about a boy that finds a dragon egg, and he’s destined to rebuild this ancient organization of dragon riders, all while he battles the last dragon rider who turned against his brothers, which is why the dragon riders aren’t around anymore.

That’s an awesome idea! It’s so awesome, not only is it literally stolen from another young adult fantasy novel, but the plot line is also drawn from a movie that is borderline fantasy in its nature while it tries to pretend to be science fiction. But, you wouldn’t know that because you’ve not read in your genre.

That doesn’t mean that the story idea is invalid, it worked very well for Christopher Paolini and George Lucas before him. It can also work well for you, but you’ve got to find another way to spin it, otherwise you’re going to have a hefty lawsuit on your hands. And, that’s a one hundred percent certain way to fail.

  1. Don’t Read Period

This is almost as good a way to assure your failure as not writing is. Reading is the act of studying how to write. Every time you sit down with a paperback novel, a part of your brain dedicates itself to pulling the work apart. Judging how the writer uses their talent and voice to create a sculpture of words. Your mind works with what you’ve read. It molds it and transforms it. Every book you read alters your writing style, even if only a tiny bit, but that book will have left an imprint on you. Knowing what magic that writer shared will make it a little easier for you to share your own magic.

On top of all the philosophical stuff, reading other writers helps teach you the hard and fast rules of writing, such as phrasing and grammar. It gives examples of when you should and shouldn’t leave out an oxford comma. (Never leave out an oxford comma. Ever. Period.) Another primary reason to read is so that you know the “rules” about writing, and you will see examples of how other people break those “rules”. This will help prepare you for the day when you break those “rules” yourself.

And, I can’t think of any other reasons to read right off the top of my head. There are hundreds of thousands of reasons to read, and every one of those reasons is an avenue towards better writing, and if you straight up want to fail at being a writer… you should avoid reading. In fact, there’s probably some mind numbing reality TV show on. I’m sure it has one of those Kardashians in it, or Cardassians, not sure which… they kind of look the same I suppose.

  1. Never Write Surprise Ideas Down

You know when you’re in the middle of taking a shower and this amazing idea comes to you about how a group of coal miners from West Virginia are going to be the first colonists on the moon. You know, right from the get go, from the first word you put on paper, that this would be a million-dollar best seller. A book that would sell more copies than the Bible. But, gosh darn it, I’m in the middle of something and I don’t have time to stop and write it down. Not even just a sentence to keep the idea alive in my mind. I’m sure I’ll remember it later.

You’ll regret that decision… unless of course, you want to fail at being a writer.

Surprise ideas are the fuel that feeds our creative fires. Those tiny moments in the day where something we see or hear or touch or smell strikes us in just the right way and we’re like hmm… I could see that being a story. Or you might find yourself asking “What if killer clowns roamed the streets terrorizing the populous and Batman was the answer to stopping them?” Or you might be reading a blog post, and be like “gosh, there are so many of these posts out there. I wonder what it would be like to write a post professing the exact opposite thing of the last inspirational post I read? I wonder if there was a way I could turn it into a satire too, and tweak it just enough so that I’m really expressing the same ideas but the delivery and voice of the post are kind of making fun of other posts of this nature?” I had a random idea along those lines, and I’m thinking it might become a whole series of posts.

Still, though, this is all about failing. What you need to do when these ideas come along is ignore them. Don’t quickly jot them down on a little notebook you carry around. Or don’t type them into the notes app on your phone. Don’t do anything at all that might preserve that idea for further perusal later. After all, who really wants to read about coal miners in space?

  1. Always Compare Yourself to Bestselling Authors

Yes, they’re selling hundreds of thousands, even millions of books, and how many have you sold? Hmm? What did your grandma buy a copy of your last self-pub? Did she even read it? I bet Dan Brown’s grandmother reads his books.

You’re just a failure, because Stephen King has sold fifty million copies of his latest book.

It can’t be because he’s had sixty + years of experience under his belt. And, it definitely can’t be because he’s spent the last sixty years doing everything, working every trick in the book, to build his audience to the point he’s at right now. I mean, come on, he was an overnight success. Carrie hit shelves and BAM! major movie deal. And, yeah, we totally need to gloss over the fact that he spent two decades of his life working on his craft. We can forget all the short stories he’d sold up to that point too. As well as the number of rejections Carrie went through before it was picked up by a publisher that turned out to be kind of a pity contract from the higher ups at Doubleday.

So, if you’re measuring stick is Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Dan Brown, Tom Clancy, and just about any other writer whose name has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list, then… well, you’re guaranteed to fail. There’s a reason gaining levels in WoW is called grinding. The same is true in writing. You only get better by doing it, by reading everything you can, and by putting yourself out there.

If failure is your goal, go ahead and compare yourself to the big wigs, nothing like feeding the seething self-loathing growing in the pit of your stomach.

  1. Always Submit Your “Perfect” First Draft to Agents and Publishers

So, against every nugget of wisdom I’ve shared with you in this little post, you’ve gone and finished yourself a novel. It’s a massive thing, running better than five hundred pages, with at least two parts of the novel being an essay about the way buggers taste when seasoned with salt and pepper. But, it’s perfect, and you know it is.


Because bestsellers write massive novels, every single one of them. You never see a book by Stephen King with less than a hundred thousand words in it. And, by gum, you know your literary diamond is ten times the book Stephen King could ever hope to write.

Now, let’s see what else you did. This is your first draft. Good. Who needs feedback? We already covered that earlier in the list. Did you proofread for any grammatical errors or any other rules you might have missed? Nope, good. That’s right, the moment it touched the page it turned to gold. What to do with the book now?

Well, there’s only one answer. Now you start the submission process. Sit down and writer yourself a nice query letter, but ignore the guidelines on the agent and publishers page. Go ahead and send the whole novel, why not? I’m sure they’ll love it. After all, they’ve got all the time in the world, and this is YOUR novel after all. They have no choice but to sit down and read it the moment it drops into their inbox. And, yep, that sweet publishing contract is right around the corner. I wouldn’t be surprised if they gave you a six figure advance on that. After all, it’ll sell better than the Bible.

But, in case you did want to continue to ignore my advice at least listen to this. Put the book away for a couple of months. Start on another project. Read for six weeks straight, then come back to your monster. Look at it with new eyes, and wonder just what the hell you were thinking when you wrote it. Maybe it’s not gold, maybe it’s still somewhere in the area of a turd, but it can be turned around. Write another draft. Then find a critique partner, or a couple of them, or a whole group. Get them to look at the book and give it another run through the typewriter. Now, you might be looking at a book that’s worth submitting. So, go ahead and start that process, but while you’re doing that work on something new. Start a blog. Mingle with the writing community and maybe build yourself a fan base. There’s a reason Fifty Shades of Grey became an instant bestseller, and it’s not because of the quality of writing. Ah, the power of networking.

Anywho, those are my little pieces of wisdom when it comes to the world of failing as a writer. I’ll tell you what though, I hope I see you on the side of success. It’s always nice to know that it’s not an impossible goal to achieve, much as it seems like it is some times. So, sit tight, grab your pen, and keep writing. This world needs that 500-page monster of yours, we need your touch of magic to make us all a little better.

Consecutive Days Blogging: 3

Procrastination Nation



Almost forgot to write a post today. 

Well, not really forgot. I’ve been thinking about the post on and off all day. And never really got down to actually sitting down and writing it. 

This isn’t even the post I’d had in mind for today. 

And what’s worse is I actually had a post ready to go, sitting on my computer all typed up and ready to post, and I neglect to set it to post before I go to bed last night.


Anyway, I’m not making any sense at all, and I feel bad because this is just a filler post, but…  I dunno.

Anywho, peace out.

Consecutive days blogging: 2

Happy National Novel Writing Month!

It’s that time of year again, where each and every little writer scurries into their corner to pull out their pen and paper and pour out their heart and soul.

Although, I don’t think I’ve ever participated in NaNo. I’ve meant to in years past, or I’ve been to far along in other projects to stop and start a brand new one. Another problem with competing has been dedication issues. Like with a blog or anything else, my attention flags after about 15 mins, then it’s time for something new. Part of living with ADD, I suppose. It really gets in the way of things. More on that later.

The real point of this post, however, is to create a point of public accountability. In essence, I’m going to participate in NaNo, not by working on a new novel, instead I’ll be working on this blog. The point of NaNo is to get butts in chairs on a daily basis, with an expectation of producing so many words a day. Using it as a habit building exercise, I will put my butt in the chair everyday. And every day I will produce a new blog post.

This is an effort to battle back the curse of ADD, and to help develop a healthy habit for myself, and maybe for my wallet later on down the road 😆.

To end today’s post I will leave a S.M.A.R.T. Goals declaration: I, Ryan S. Kinsgrove, will write and publish a blog post every day in the month of November, in an effort to build a better Ryan, and to prove that I can change for the better.

Consecutive days blogging: 1

The Professor: 10 Ways to Fail at Being a Writer (And Why You Should Do the Opposite) Part 1


Are you tired of all those inspirational listicles giving 10 reasons you should do this and 5 habits where you should do that? Well, I wanted to know what the other side of things looked like. Mainly, because I’ve been sitting on the other side of the fence for so long. Only recently have I decided to embrace the inspirational listicles and put my best foot forward as a writer.

However, that doesn’t mean I’ve not learned a great deal living on the other side of the fence. So, I’m going to share that extensive list of knowledge with you today. Then I’m going to try and point out why you should avoid doing it like the plague.

  1. Don’t Write:

In the number one spot we have what is probably the most obvious bad idea, if you consider yourself a writer. Writing is the number one most important thing you can do as a writer. Why? It says it in the name. Writer. I’m a writer. Well, what do you do? I write. That’s all, that’s it, the simplest answer in all the world. I write, because I must write. I write because it is second nature for me to sit down at a typewriter and bleed. I write because it is an essential ingredient in the recipe that is me. I write because it is a requirement for my brain to have any normal sort of function.

So, if you want to fail at being a writer, don’t write. Call yourself a writer all you want, but don’t do it. Find excuses to justify the time spent away from your desk. Tell the genius that’s dying to get out that you’re not in the mood to write today. Tell the muse she’s going to have to bring her ideas back some other day, because you’re too busy doing God only knows what. But, most of all, tell yourself you’ll get that book written, even if you never put your pen to paper. You’ll get that book “written” eventually.

  1. Don’t Network:

Networking is an absolutely terrible idea if you want to fail at being a writer. Why? Because a writer needs to get their name out into the world to get their work out into the world. Networking means that you would be interacting with like-minded people who might not only like your work, but they might like you as a person. They might even want to be friends. And, God it would just be terrible to have friends that already have established blogs where you might be able to do guest posts. Or if you were to have friends that would be willing to help with your writing process. You might find beta readers, people who will review your work, and most important of all you might find people you just generally like to be around.

So, to make a short list of the best ways to avoid networking. Don’t look for blogs discussing things similar in nature to your own work. Don’t join writers’ groups on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Don’t go to workshops. Don’t go to conferences. Don’t join online writing courses. And, above all, don’t look around for people who might be going through the same struggle you are, trying to find an agent, get published, make millions of dollars. Yep, the best way to fail is to do it all on your own, living under a rock. The safest most secure computer is one that’s never touched the internet.

  1. Neglect Your Blog

It’s all the rage to have a blog these days. If you can type two words together and know how to access the internet, then you should have a blog. So, even as a writer that wants to fail, you should totally go and start your own blog. Why? It’s not because you got this great idea to build an online platform and fan base by putting your work out there and sharing it with those like-minded individuals we were talking about in the networking section.

You should start a blog because it’s a great way to expound on your soul crushing depression. Why? Blog dashboards come with a way to watch the stats on your blog. You know, how many visits you get a day, how many of those are unique views, which ones are repeat readers, where your audience is coming from. It’s called analytics, and it’s a great way to ruin your day. I just wrote this awesome amazing blog post discussing the nature of Luke Skywalker’s relationship with his father, and about four people have read it. Well, maybe they read it. One was your mom. The other was your mother in law. The two others might have been people you could count as fans who don’t feel obligated to read and like everything you write. Although the average length of time spent checking that page was 3 seconds, gosh they must be awfully fast readers.

Another wonderful aspect to this level of failure is the point where you quit. You didn’t quit because it was a well thought out decision and an avenue to something better. Nope, you let the blog die a slow death. That first month you were posting every day. Then it was every other day. Then it was once a week. Then it was once every two weeks. And, now you can’t actually remember the last time you looked at your blog.

How’s that black hole of despair feel now? (I know when I hit that point I was pretty much sucked right into the depths of the pit, but enough about me.)

  1. Don’t Build an Online Platform

Building a platform is a bit of a combination of the last two reasons, and a whole lot of the bit about getting your work seen. Building a platform means taking this life seriously, grabbing it by the balls so to speak, and putting yourself and your work out into the world. That blog you started, it would have been a good place to start building your platform, but you probably would have needed to do a little bit of the networking—the part where you get your name out in the world—and a lot of the writing—that silly amount of time you would spend creating content for said blog—to get things to the point where you have people who, not only show up on your email list, but also frequently read your work and interact with you as a person. You might even have a fan or two if you did all that.

But. Nope. Building a platform is much too dangerous of an idea. I want to fail here, not accidentally succeed or something.

  1. Don’t Join a Critique Group

Why shouldn’t you join a critique group? Well, we are talking about ways to fail at being a writer, and “supposedly” joining a critique group is a way to make yourself a better writer. It’s this sort of situation where other people (ew, networking) look at your “perfect” stories and bits of novels and give you critical opinions of how to make your “perfect” writing better. But, then, everything that comes from your pen is perfect isn’t it? Well, if you don’t think so then I don’t think you know where this failing thing is going. Everything ever written is perfect the moment it hits a sheet of paper. It’s not like revising and writing multiple drafts of a story using critical information gleaned from a number of trusted peers is going to do anything to help make your writing stronger.

–And, on side note as the author, I’ve just realized I’m extremely long winded and really wordy. So, to prevent this post from getting to long I’ve decided to split it into two parts. Keep your eyes peeled for part two, that is if you want to be a failure. Check back for part 2 next Wednesday on another does of the  Professor.