3 Words

Between the hundreds of books that I’ve read, and the tremendous amount of time that I’ve spent writing, I’ve acquired a pretty large vocabulary over the years. By reading, I’ve encountered so many words that I rarely use in everyday speech, and plenty that I never even knew existed. I’ve taken those words into my own writing, but before I’ve ever done that, I’ve made sure that I properly understood the words and what they mean.

On a basic level, this means cracking open the dictionary and reading its definition, or leafing through the thesaurus to find similar words. But by experiencing so many fantastic adventures simply through written words, and creating so many adventures with my own, I’ve found that certain words have much greater meaning than what any linguist will tell you; there are some words that symbolize the greatest elements of humans and this world we inhabit.

These are the three words that I find the most meaning in, the kind I would get tattooed someday…if I ever decide to get a tattoo.

COURAGE

The word “Courage” probably means more to me than most people because of the type of stories that I write. The stories that I dream up always involve some kind of action and adventure, whether it takes place in everyday life, or a world that only exists through my imagination. I make sure that my characters need to overcome some kind of challenge on their way to achieving their goal, usually in the form of an adversary or task that has the potential to do them real harm should they fail.

But courage is hardly exclusive to those who face adversity which threatens them physically; courage exists in any person who knowingly fears something, or knows that they may fail, yet stand and face that challenge, regardless. Not every person is gifted with prodigious strength, tremendous intellect, or even material goods; but if you have the will to accomplish something, the desire for something so strongly, you always have the chance to realize it simply by moving forward and pursuing it.

Anyone can be physically strong, extremely wise or ludicrously wealthy, but it takes a truly powerful human being to possess great courage. And it’s with great courage that you can overcome any obstacle; whether it’s in a world with magic, dragons and wizards, or our own.

LOVE

To me, love is the ultimate inspiration. There is no other emotion in this world which can drive a person to accomplish something; it’s the very thing that fuels courage. Romantic love is certainly included here—and something I can attest to—but love stretches far beyond what girl or what guy you feel an especially strong connection with.

A major reason why I’m so fond of the word is because of my personal faith in Jesus Christ. He had a very simple message while he walked this earth, and that was to love all those around you, and everything within this earth, because it is through love that you can make this world—or simply someone’s—a greater place to live in. I do my best to live by that mantra. I admit, I don’t always succeed at it, but I know that you can only be a great human being by showing love for those you share this life with.

In truth, love is a lot of things. Love is respect, strength, compassion, honesty, forgiveness, charity, bravery, sacrifice; it’s any emotion or action that betters the existence of another, and that’s what resonates so much with me.

BELIEVE

Life isn’t easy. It isn’t easy for the characters that I write about, it isn’t easy for me, and it isn’t easy for anybody that I know. We regularly find ourselves running into obstacles, and the things that we want the most often don’t come to us without a lot of struggle. Sometimes, it feels like they’ll never come to us at all.

It’s easy to lose hope, but you can never accomplish anything by giving up. You can’t achieve your dream if you think that you’re not good enough, or that a task is impossible to overcome; the only way you’ll ever realize a goal is by believing that you are capable of accomplishing anything you set your mind, body and heart to.

To me, I feel that when you believe in yourself, it’s the beginning of a journey. It’s what sets you forward on an adventure where the destination is something you desire and value with the greatest passion there can be. It’s unbreakable pride and confidence in yourself that keeps the journey going no matter how difficult it becomes, no matter how many times its trials bring you to your knees.

“Believe” is such an amazing word for all that it represents; the purest, immeasurable desire to realize the dream that makes you the person that you are. And I believe that I can achieve everything I dream of for myself, and this world.

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Staying Fresh

The novel that I’m currently writing doesn’t appear like it’ll be some 500+ page brick, and while it’s taking me a little longer than I anticipated to finish, the six months or so I’ve spent on it is nowhere near as long as what you hear from a lot of first-time authors, who sometimes require years to finish a piece of work.

But when you still put as much time into one project as I have so far, it’s easy to get distracted, or even lose some interest after a while. I’m definitely the kind of person who has a tendency to be swayed by the new, fresher idea that I haven’t been slaving over for months. The fact that I’ve come this far with my planned trilogy impresses me as it is.

A good part of that is because I’ve mixed up my work here and there. Just last night I covered the game between the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers from the press box inside First Niagara Center. I got to cover two other games in February, so it was three press box trips in about three weeks for me.

This year has been especially fun for me to cover Sabres games because it’s the first season where the website I write for, SabresHockeyCentral.com, has been allowed into the locker room following the games. Regardless of whether the team wins or not, it’s an awesome experience, especially for an aspiring writer who’s 22 years old and still in college. It’s a neat feeling to stand there before star athletes who you’ve watched and admired for years, and somehow manage to stay stoic and professional the whole time.

I’m also allowed to sit in for the head coach’s post-game press conference, which, depending on if the team wins or loses, can either be uplifting, or incredibly tense. Nothing more intimidating than a furious hockey coach.

For a little over a week in February, I also took some time out of my schedule to complete a short story that will be published by Pulp Empire later this year. I originally wrote the story as a screenplay for a short film almost a year ago for one of my college courses. It’s about a young, highly-touted mixed martial arts fighter who loses his first professional fight and has to regain his composure in the aftermath. I’ll be sure to post an excerpt on here as we get closer to the release date.

Working on different projects like that keeps things fresh for me; it makes sure that things don’t grow monotonous as I spend months writing the same story. What I write beyond my novel/s certainly plays a role in that, because it’s so different from a fantasy trilogy smacking with swords, knights, magic and monsters.

With the mixed martial arts fiction, I delve into a completely different kind of world—ours. Writing a realistic story set during a modern time is a whole other effort from writing some nerdy fantasy adventure. I can’t dream up my own lands, powers and creatures, I have to adhere to reality, but that’s not a bad thing.

There’s an appeal in the challenge to writing realistic fiction. It’s satisfying when you feel as if you’ve captured the feel of a real-world scenario, but still were able to inject your own creative flair to the words. I’m especially proud that I’m able to blend my vivid description of scenes and locations (as I thoroughly use in my fantasy writing) alongside developing characters who could very well be the guy next door.

Dialogue is very fun for me to work with for a realistic story. While I don’t use Ye Olde speech like something out of the Lord of the Rings for my fantasy stories, the characters definitely speak with some added class that is uncommon in today’s society (I’m not criticizing society here). On the other hand, when it came to my mixed martial arts story, I got to let loose with vulgarity, slang and unquestionably improper grammar—just like all of us speak with today.

The coverage that I do for the Buffalo Sabres NHL team needs little explanation why it’s a big change up from my fiction writing; isn’t even fiction!