Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The ABC's of Writing: A Guest Post From Leif G.S. Notae

Greetings and hello from the land of tomorrow!

*looks off camera, clearly confused*

What? You want me to say what now? You sure this isn’t the sci-fi and beer drinkers biannual Spock and Ale convention? Oh dear.

*throws away prepared script*

Hello there and welcome to my ramblings about my writing career. I have been tasked by our wonderful web mistress here to share with you my experiences with writing and pass along any tips I have to you, the reader. So, as soon as she puts down the whip, we can begin.

My writing hobby started with an obsession with wrestling.

You can come back now and stop laughing; it's the truth.

When I was a young pup, I was enraptured by wrestling. It wasn’t’ so much that I thought it was real (all wrestling fans know it is fake), but the intriguing characters and what they did in and outside the ring. In the 80s and early 90s, it was all about the over-the-top characters and their lavish lives. This made me obsessed with characters and how they could become who they were. My reading matched my writing and made me understand that this was an amazing method of portraying someone in writing.

So I took my writing on the road and started to do what we called efedding. Essentially, it is pretend wrestling for internet geeks who think they are wrestlers. My first pieces were pretty pathetic when I look back on it. 300 words; filled with errors, and had no story to them. However, somehow, my offerings were better than the others that appeared on those message boards so long ago.

It was getting into the habit of writing under a deadline and matching wits with other writers. It was looking over what they did and how they did it that allowed me to grow. I learned techniques that would help me grow faster and farther than I could alone in my room, writing on a spiral notebook. I learned how to write for readers of the genre, learned how to craft somewhat believable dialogue and still make my character stand out from all the others in the sea of pretend wrestling.  

Since it was competitive, we were all judged by our peers, and a winner was determined by votes. I walked away from the hobby last year at an 80% success rate from more than 500 matches with five different characters. However, that isn’t where I learned my success.

I learned it by failing miserably.

I was accepted into one of the more illustrious places in the hobby and was informed I was given a trial. I gave them everything I had, thought I was the greatest and then was handed my backside by the judges and my peers who said I had no clue how to write a story. They wanted finely crafted stories that would keep them enraptured. I was just a common thug with nothing to say.

I suppose this will dovetail into my tips and tricks for you. These are things I learned the hard way from that moment; I have applied them to my writing, and I hope that it translates out in my writing.

Always learn
There is no reason for you to stand pat on what you know and how you know it. There is always someone out there who can express what you want better than you can. If you think you are a whiz at dialogue, there is someone who can write circles around you. If you think your story writing abilities are untouchable, there is someone out there who can poke you with their superiority without even trying. Never take for granted that you can grow and still be impressive. There is always something to learn.

Be dedicated to your craft
This is a little extreme for some, but this is what it takes for me to get involved. I get up at 3:30 am, and I write in the morning (after scheduling things and catching up on the news). As soon as I come home, I write until I get my schedule finished. You must dedicate yourself to it fully and without reservation, whatever it is that you do. Amaze people with what you have, make them think it is effortless.

Center yourself
Meditate. Shake it off. Take a moment to be with yourself. These things will help you focus your energy and effort to something more constructive. Sure, you could come back from your cube farm and rant to your loved one while having your favored adult beverage; but that will not make your writing better, nor will it make you write. Use the negative energy that you have, convert it into a positive and make something with it. When I am afraid, angry or anything else; I stop and convert it to write a beautiful piece with no effort. This encourages me to keep going.

Along with other little techniques that I have tailored to my personality, I have at least grown by leaps and bounds as a writer and as an individual. I suppose the 140,000+ hits I had in December can attest to doing something right.

Go forth and write, practice your craft and amaze us with the story you know. There is no one better than you to tell it! -- Leif G.S. Notae

Leif G.S. Notae
Leif G.S. Notae (also known as LeiffyV) is a hobby writer of short stories, flash and micro fiction, along with dark poetry.  He was published in Six Minute Magazine under his real name as well as local magazines and newspapers in the Santa Cruz area.  He maintains daily entries in his blog while working with green technology in the county.  

He can be found blogging on his daily blog, Writing More With Less.  He can also be found blogging on

Follow Leif on Twitter @Vignirsson or connect with him on Facebook under Leif GS Notae.


  1. Interesting piece & some good advice for new writers. Not sure I could manage a 3.30am rise - now that's dedication:)

  2. Leif, you're one of my fave people! This is a great post. Thanks for making me laugh as well as think. I'm a firm believer in never stopping learning, and you've definitely given me food for thought here.

  3. Thank you ladies, I am glad you enjoyed this piece. I am hoping people get something from it, even if it is that I am a little more eccentric than the normal person... Phbt! "normal".

  4. I am awed by your ability to write soon after waking. If I practiced this it would be paragraph after paragraph with several things repeated over and over:, not the wombat!...cookies... ;) Seriously good job you two. :D