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JJ Rust PM
Biography
Joined Jul '07, USA

JJ RUST

Full Name: John J. Rust

Sports reporter by day (and night), writer by night (and day). Been writing since high school, and now have three novels and countless freelance articles to show for it, as well as a wide body of work on this site.

Original novels:

"Sea Raptor" Former Army Ranger Jack Rastun and wildlife photographer Karen Thatcher must stop a prehistoric monster's deadly rampage along the Jersey Shore. http:///Sea-Raptor-John-J-Rust/dp/1500230561

"Dark Wings" Aliens that resemble some of the world's legendary monsters have invaded Earth. Delta Force Major Jim Rhyne leads a resistance group in enemy-occupied territory to save the human race from a horrific fate. /books/view/102426

"The Best Phillies Team Ever" The all-time 25-man roster of the Philadelphia Phillies. http:///The-Best-Phillies-Team-Ever/dp/1494702878

Check out my Goodreads page at /author/show/4537024.John_J_Rust

Favorites List:

Movies:

The Avengers

Field of Dreams

Watchmen

Blazing Saddles

Battle: Los Angeles

Remember the Titians

Pretty much anything with John Wayne

Star Wars (1st three movies)

Harry Potter

Godzilla movies

Authors:

Harry Turtledove

Tom Clancy

Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

Lee Child

Vince Flynn

John Scalzi

Janet Evanovich

Clive Cussler

TV:

Sons of Anarchy

Sleepy Hollow

Babylon 5

The Following

How I Met Your Mother

Agents of SHIELD

24

Star Trek

Dr. Who

The Last Ship

Music:

Led Zeppelin

Nightwish

Iron Maiden

Within Temptation

Skillet

Epica

Sabaton

Metallica

Heart

Eluveitie

Tips For Writing:I am not a NY Times best-selling author nor do I claim to be the foremost expert on the art of writing. These are just some things I have learned after years of writing manuscripts and magazine articles, attending writers workshops and being part of writers groups, and they have helped me. I figure if you have knowledge, it's good to share it with others.

These are some things I picked up at a workshop run by David Morrell, the author of "First Blood" and "Creepers." The difference between "writers and civilians" is writers are aware. We are always aware of our surroundings, of the people we deal with, of stories we see in the news or in magazines. This is how we get our inspiration. Tom Clancy came up with "The Hunt For Red October" because he saw a news story about a mutiny aboard a Russian merchant ship and took it a step further by asking, "What if the same thing happened on a Soviet missile submarine?"

Daydreaming is good. Again, this helps us come up with stories. We can be at sporting events, the circus, parties, etc, look at people, and make up stories about them in our heads, or create whole new characters around them. Example, when I was at the Ringling Brothers Circus recently, while I was marveling at the performers, I was also thinking, "How did they get involved in the circus? What is their family life like? What if a character from one of my stories had to do something at a circus and got involved with this performer?"

Now some other stuff I've picked up in my writing life.

Always carve out time in your day for writing. You should at least be able to find one hour a day for writing.

Always, always, always proofread your stories before submission. Correct any spelling and grammatical mistakes. Most computers will have spellcheck or grammar checks. Use them.

On this site, summaries are VERY important. This is the way you introduce people to your story. This is your hook to catch their attention and make them want to read. At best, you have two or three sentences to convey the plot of your story. Stick to the point, and make that point sound interesting. Reading the back of book covers might give you some ideas on how to develop your own summary. Also, proofread your summary before posting it. If a summary has too many spelling and grammar errors, then many people will assume your entire story is littered with them and won't be inclined to read. And NEVER, EVER write "I suck at summaries." I avoid stories that have that phrase. My feeling is if you say your summary sucks, how can I be sure the story is good? You want to encourage people to read your story, not drive them away.

Don't get discouraged by negative reviews. Remember, not everyone will like your stories.

If you're writing original stuff and trying to get it published, be prepared to receive a lot of rejection letters. Again, don't get discouraged. Tom Clancy and JK Rowling were rejected by just about everyone in the world and look how things turned out for them.

Plot is easy. What drives the story is characters. If you don't have interesting characters the reader can care about, your story will go nowhere.

Never make things easy for your characters. As much as you may love your characters, don't be afraid to throw tons and tons of crap on them. Without conflict, you have no story.

Become the character you are writing. When you are typing away, you become Harry Potter or Hermione Granger or Jack Sparrow or Jack Bauer or Spiderman or Wolverine. You can no longer think "what would I do" or "what would I say" in this situation. It's "How would (your character) deal with this?" "What would he/she say?" "How would they say it?" Always be aware of the personalities and mannerisms of whatever character you are writing for. Harry Potter wouldn't call someone "Dude," and Jack Bauer wouldn't high five his fellow CTU operatives after a successful mission.

Here's some more stuff on character development I picked up at a Writer's Seminar. This comes from Susan Lang, author of the books "Small Rocks Rising" and "Moon Lily."

When creating a character, here are some things to consider to make them a more well-rounded person:

What does your character care most about? What does he/she most want?

Who does your character care most about? Who is your character close to?

Who or what has been the major influences in your character's life?

What specifically does your character have in his/her pockets or purse?

What drives your character?

When your character sits alone, what does he/she fantasize about?

What was the most traumatic experience in your character's life?

What is your character most afraid of?

Who has hurt your character? Who has your character hurt?

How much does your character know about his or herself and what drives him/her?

What kinds of things is your character aware about him/herself? What things is he/she not aware of?

How do other people see your character?

Have your character have a "shadow." Something that doesn't make them 100 nice or likable (therefore avoiding the Gary Stu/Mary Sue trap). Have their greatest strength become a weakness, something that rubs people the wrong way. Example, Hermione Granger (Harry Potter Series) is highly intelligent, but showing off that intelligence alienates many around her.

Do a genealogy of your character (parents, siblings, grandparents, etc) and maybe do a bio of them.

There are also many ways you can reveal your character's thoughts, emotions and state of mind to the readers.

Dialogue

Actions (slamming a door, clenching his/her fists)

Habits (rolling a pen between his/her fingers, drumming their fingers on a table)

Thoughts

Fears

Dreams

Memories

Likes/Dislikes

Attitude or actions toward other people and/or life in general

Reactions to events

Decisions

Things the character notices around him/her

What the character wears, carries, reads, etc.

Stories need conflict in order to work. This does not necessarily mean a physical fight. Conflict comes in many forms. Disagreements with family members/friends/significant others. Sporting events. Trying to pass a test. Trying to escape a disaster. Trying to overcome shyness and ask a girl/guy on a date. Pulling a prank on someone. Conflict with one's self, like dealing with a tragedy. The example I like to use of what happens when a story has no conflict, think of "Jurassic Park." How enjoyable would the book or movie be if they went to the island, drove around, saw dinosaurs and everything in the park worked fine and no dinosaurs escaped to threaten the park goers and staff. You guessed it. It would be one very boring story.

Research is always a good idea. If your story takes place in Philadelphia or London or Canberra or Tel Aviv, check and see what those cities are like. If you write about a character exploring the desert outside Flagstaff, Arizona, the people from there will jump all over you. Arizona is not one big desert. Flagstaff, actually, is surrounded by pine forests, not cacti. Also, and this is mainly for action/adventure writers, always do research when dealing with weapons and other equipment. And DON'T rely on TV and movies, because 9 times out of ten they get it wrong. Example, cars DO NOT explode when they crash. Police and firefighters will tell you that only 1-2 percent of motor vehicle accidents result in fire. Note, I said fire, not massive explosion. Also, you CANNOT blow up a vehicle by shooting at the gas tank. Going back to David Morrell, he actually spent a few days at a security course where they pumped a couple hundred rounds into the gas tank of a car and it did not blow up. Another one, hand grenades DO NOT explode like bombs. They only pack about a pound of explosives. Their deadliness comes from the shrapnel they put out, not the explosion.

Want to improve your writing? Form a writers critique group. Share your stories with people who you know will give you honest advice (not simply "This is great" or "This sucks"). Get with people who can tell you if something works in your story or if it doesn't. And also another pair of eyes is great for picking up spelling and grammatical errors. I can tell you I have read over my own stuff 20 times, then I give it to someone else and they pick up a mistake I somehow missed.

Sometimes it helps to read your stories aloud. What sounds good when you read it silently may not sound good when you hear it with your own ear. This is especially true of dialogue.

When you have writers block, don't sit at your computer trying to work through it. Turn off the computer and leave. Take a walk (not only can it help you come up with ideas, but 20-30 minutes of hoofing it is good exercise).

"The galleries are full of critics. They play no ball. They fight no fights. They make no mistakes because they attempt nothing. Down in the arena are the do-ers. They make mistakes because they try many things. The man who makes no mistakes lacks boldness and the spirit of adventure. He is the one who never tries anything. He is the brake on the wheel of progress. And yet it cannot be truly said he makes no mistakes because the biggest mistake is the very fact that he tries nothing, does nothing, except criticize those who do things." -- General David M. Shoup, 22nd Commandant, US Marine Corps. This is also posted in the UNLV Football locker room.

Hope this has helped.

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