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August Niehaus Posts

Cheatsheets

Not so long ago, we Damn Shames took on an interesting project that lasted about a year. We love writing about digital spaceships, and so when a client wanted us to make some buyer’s guide-style content for their website using Star Citizen game assets and our imaginations, we went for it. First, we created something we thought the client might like and sent it off for feedback. Then we incorporated the feedback and got the…

Camp NaNoWriMo: Camp so far

Whoops, it’s the 19th, and I haven’t updated for Camp NaNo at all. I posted on Facebook a bit, but…I’ve put more of my attention on other projects this month and didn’t get as far as I’d hoped. But, so far this has been a really fun project! The book is turning out how I want it to, at least so far – which is about 13k words. It should be pretty short and sweet,…

Camp NaNoWriMo 2017

I’m going to camp! Camp NaNoWriMo, anyway. (NaNoWriMo, for those who aren’t in on the joke, is a friendly global contest to get writers over their inability to cruise through a first draft and on their way to a finished manuscript, in 30 days.) I’m taking on the standard 50,000-word goal; I’m feeling boring, and plus, I just want enough motivation to get past that inevitable 30k-word hump. Not sure yet if I’ll finish the…

Cool Things to Write About™

My favorite writing exercise of all time is from Ray Bradbury, in Zen in the Art of Writing. It’s very simple: you generate a list of nouns, conjured from your life experiences, as if they were titles. Bradbury always did this exercise in all-caps, and so do I; it makes the results feel more title-like, therefore conjuring sensations rather than simply specific images. How ominous does THE BLACKENED TRUCK sound? How mysterious is THE GEM…

The Almost-Authors: Eva Gibson

Almost-authors are people with projects the world hasn’t seen yet. They might be a few drafts or just a few cover letters away from being a published author…for the first or the tenth time. They haven’t made it to the finish line yet on this one – but I’m going to find out how they plan to get there. Eva Gibson is an author of contemporary YA, who is drawn to dark stories for both…

Everything I know, I learned from talking animal stories

Dramatic, right? But ask anyone who knows me, and they’ll tell you it’s accurate. Many of my literary models of heroism and virtue were people who ran on four legs, not two. Even now, I can’t get away from writing talking animals (case in point: my novel Daugment). Looking critically at which childhood stories have stuck with me, I’ve found several other reasons why a talking animal makes an incredibly powerful storytelling tool. Talking animals…

Living computers

I’ve seen the Living Computer Museum‘s neon green sign fly past for five years now, and only this weekend did we stop in. And thank god we did. What a trip. It seems modest enough at first, though as delightful as you might expect – all neon and big displays and the bright colors you’d expect of an exhibit on modern technological superpowers, like self-driving cars, virtual reality, and big data. There was a display…

Attention almost-authors! I want to interview you.

Do you have a book that’s nearly there? Are you a few drafts — or even just a few cover letters — away from being a published author for the first or the tenth time? I’d like to interview you! I think it would be interesting to interview writers who haven’t gotten to the finish line yet. Because we’re all there on something in our lives. It can be a lonely and disheartening place to…

Writerguilt

writerguilt, n. the intense feeling of failure and existential doubt that occurs when words are not being applied to pages Writerguilt is the nagging feeling that the world is waiting for your words. Writerguilt is also self-indulgent. Breaking news: The only person waiting for you to write is you. But someone’s waiting on me! I hear you insisting. Fine, sure. Deadlines are real things. But editors, agents, and publishing companies work with writers who produce.…

crows

crows laughing and bouncing and sharpening their beaks crows rustling their feathers lost in their own shadows crows in a jagged line on a telephone wire crows dipping in a rosy puddle crows gathered round the fallen crows streaming towards the sunset weighing down the boughs allopreening, lost in a private moment crows swooping in front of cars and stooping on the gas station roof and rooting through the trash crows foraging in trios, loosely…