Blog shout-out: A Month from Somewhere
Although I’ve only been involved in the blogging community for a short space of time, I’ve already come across several blogs which have particularly caught my eye. Some of these blogs have clearly been well-established for some time; others just as clearly have not. Regardless, such blogs deserve to be looked at, which is why I’ll be doing features like this from time to time.
After a bit of consideration, I’ve decided to start things off by featuring A Month from Somewhere, a blog run by one Allen V. Cortez. This is primarily a writing blog, containing both original fiction and articles on the process and business of writing; occasionally, however, other kinds of posts also appear.
In the interest of transparency, I should point out that Allen did something similar for me not so long ago; nonetheless, I honestly believe that I’ve remained objective in choosing to feature him here.
From a glance at his “about” page, it is clear that Allen has already lived a richly varied life. Among other things he has worked in a casino, made a bow and a set of arrows and worked freelance as a graphic designer. Despite everything, however, Allen considers writing to be his main passion in life; this is readily apparent from the content of his articles.
If you’re thinking of self-publishing something in the future, then you pretty much need to read this. The importance of a cover to a book’s success is undeniable, and this article makes some great arguments as to both why this is the case and why you should be willing to pay for outside help. The third reason, I would argue, is especially important:
3) Graphic design is NOT a talent
Talent only determines how good a designer can possibly be, not whether or not one can be a designer. Graphic design is taught, it is a series of elements and principals. Typography, layout, space, all of that crap is falls into a group of rules that are taught and practised over the course of (normally) 3+ years. You wouldn’t go and build a house if you had no idea how to fit two pieces of wood together, so why do you think you can make a cover without the necessary skills?
So when the time comes to create your cover art, don’t be afraid to bring a professional into the equation; that extra £100 you spend could make all the difference between a flop and the Next Big Thing.
Being both a budding writer and an avid gamer, I found this article to be especially relevant.
It is all too easy to forget that, at the end of the day, video games are a form of art just like any other. Modern games such as Oblivion and Mass effect contain phenomenal visuals, complex world building, engaging storylines and a lot more besides; as Allen points out in this article, such things are as worthy of analysis as they would be in any other artistic medium. He then goes on to describe a number of ways in which games could be used to develop or expand your own writing.
Split into three parts, this science fiction short story follows a pilot named Taco as he hauls an unknown cargo back into friendly space. When a stowaway is detected on his ship, Taco is forced to confront the intruder by himself. However, it soon becomes apparent that the intruder is not really an intruder at all…
Short and to the point, Between Somewhere and Nowhere tells an engaging and complete story despite its small size. If you have twenty minutes to spare, then why not give it a read?
This story, incidentally, is where the blog gets its name from
Allen also runs a separate blog dedicated to his Fantasy project, Etheros. This started out as an exercise in worldbuilding but has since ballooned into a full novel and countless short stories. Richly developed over a number of years, Etheros is clearly a labour of love. Check it out.
A Month From Somewhere is a very active blog, with new posts appearing every 1-2 days on average. Many more posts on a wide range of writing-related topics are sure to follow in the future.
Find it here.
(Allen V. Cortez is a pseudonym.)