Strange Things Are Afoot

For the last 12 years, I’ve been relying on public transportation to navigate the sprawling metropolis that is Los Angeles. Parking is at a premium, and maintaining a car is just something I can’t afford nor want to deal with. While the transportation system in LA isn’t up to snuff as some of its sister cities (i.e. New York, London, Paris), more buses and light rails have been added in the last decade to help ease the traffic jams. But as any Angelino can tell you, that doesn’t really address the other major problems, like why are parts of the 405 Freeway always slower than the line for Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland? It doesn’t matter what day it is or what time it is. There is always traffic on the 405 with no bawdy pirates to entertain you along the way. (more…)

Visiting the Western Caribbean: Water, Water, Everywhere

Last December, I went on a cruise to the western Caribbean with a couple of family members — my cousin and her son. We sailed out of Miami via Norwegian Cruise Line and visited several countries: Honduras, Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico. Sadly, we didn’t encounter any swashbucklers or mermaids, but we still managed to enjoy ourselves. As a writer, I’m always looking for opportunities to learn more about the world by experiencing other places and cultures. I usually accomplish this by living vicariously through books. On the occasions that I can do that in person, however, I try to keep my eyes open for moments that may result in a creative spark or a change in perspective. The following is a travel journal, documenting some of what I experienced. (more…)

So Long And Thanks For All The Fish

“I graduated.” This two-word statement carries the weight of two years’ worth of sleepless nights, deadlines, and enough frustration to fill the Mariana Trench (see what I did there). And yet, I have no regrets. My time at Stonecoast has pushed me to achieve writing heights I didn’t think possible. Now that I’ve had ample time to reflect upon my MFA journey, I’m amazed at how much I’ve evolved. The bright-eyed, bushy-tailed firstie who entered Stonecoast isn’t the same writer who graduated last month. So what’s different? What’s changed? (more…)

Dissecting Humor

I recently completed my second semester with the Stonecoast MFA Program.  I’m still in a state of awe, as I could’ve sworn I just started yesterday, and now I’m halfway to graduation.  But that’s still a long time from now, so I’ll stop counting my chickens before I roast ’em.

My second semester project focused on humor in genre fiction.  I studied writers who’ve achieved success in this niche market (i.e. Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Jasper Fforde, etc.) while attempting to write a few stories of my own in various genres.  It’s been a rather eye-opening semester as I’ve come to realize that writing humor isn’t as easy as it looks.  Most writers are concerned only about writing a good story; humorists have the same concerns except on top of all the necessary story elements (plot, character, setting, etc.), they also have to worry about their story being funny.  That’s extra work, people! That’s like me spending all day cooking an amazing seven course dinner for you, and then offering you three more courses of dessert.  With humorists, you can have your cake and eat it, too.  Several times, actually.