Wide Awake but Dreaming

Slip into my thoughts and do watch your step


6 Comments

Out of the Fire, Into the Dance

Not much writing wise got accomplished last night–and yet, there was.  It was a weird, raining night (not dark and stormy, mind you) and I had to door to my balcony open and my fleece jacket on while I did my nails and thought about writing scenes.  I kept walking from the computer to the balcony, where I would take in the night air–and the noise of the street twelve stories below–while I let my nails dry.  It’s a great way to think and let you mind work on ideas–

I worked on a story.  Only it wasn’t my current work in progress.  I was thinking along the lines of erotica, because I’ve reread some of the stuff I did years back and I’m interesting in publishing it under another name and seeing if this generates any cash.  Be my luck that I’ll end up selling big and I’ll spend the rest of my life writing all sorts of strange stuff for the masses to wank to.

But I believe Gore Vidal started out this way, so there are worse paths to follow.

I also spoke with a friend who read a few of those stories–I’d sent them her way Thursday night–and she told me she’d had a difficult time sleeping because, well, I apparently brought back sexy.  She’s also an illustrator, and she let me know she had a few ideas about a couple of the scenes, and she wanted to work up a few preliminary sketches to show.  I let her know that if I liked them I’d commission a few more for the story, and use them when I publish–which, honestly, I now feel is a bigger possibility that it was a few months before.

Which brings me back to the current work . . . the Great Cassie Novel on Hold.

Today or tomorrow I’m going to go into one of the scenes and rewrite part of it.  If I like what I see, I’ll move on to another scene which needs a rewrite after the previous rewrite didn’t feel right.  If I’m satisfied there, then I’ll move on to the new scene that need recreating, and then rewrite the scene that follows.

I know my focus there now, and I have a better feel for the characters.  I say I may start the rewrite today because I still have things to work out in the character map, and there’s a few things I want to do with Kerry as well.

The rewrite is coming, however, because yesterday was a Dance on a Volcano sort of day, and it was necessary to, as the lyrics say, get out of the night and out of the dark, into the fire and into the fight.  One as to make up their mind if they’re going to continue or just cut and run–and I decided there really isn’t any choice for me.  It’s finish the story in a form that isn’t going to embarrass me, and by that I mean I can live with the characters.  It won’t be an easy struggle, but I’m certain I’ll find my way through the death zone of expectations that didn’t pan out.

"Death zone my ass.  You wanna see a death zone?  Watch what I do with the whole London section."

“Death zone my ass. You wanna see a death zone? Watch what I do with the whole London section.”

The novel will get finished.  That’s all there is to that crap.  Just need to stop being worried and get through what needs to be done.

It’s dance on the volcano or die time.  I know where I want to go.


4 Comments

The Curtain Parts

Today is Travel Day once more:  that day where I hop in the car and drive six hundred and thirty-five miles back to The Burg after a week of sleeping in my old own bed.  So on the road about ten my time, and back to the apartment about ten at night Burg Time–or as the kids in my story would say, around twenty-two.

I managed to get Parts One and Two formatted and set up as a pdf for beta reading.  I sent the first one out last night, so right before I headed off to bed someone was reading this:

Yeah, this is what it looks like when you give Scrivener the go-ahead to make your manuscript look nice and pretty.

Yeah, this is what it looks like when you give Scrivener the go-ahead to make your manuscript look nice and pretty.

Two parts, one hundred and seventy-six pages.  Part Three is waiting in the wings, and I know one of my readers will demand I have it to her soon.  I’ll be mean and ship it off about the time the season finale of The Walking Dead comes on, because I’m that sort of mean girl.  Naw, I wouldn’t do that.  I’m not that mean.

This is another of the great things about Scrivener.  I set up what I wanted printed, told it I needed a pdf, set the basic formatting, and there it was–and there it was again, because I’d find something I didn’t like, and I’d go back and fix it, then tell the program I needed another pdf.  I did this for a few hours, because I pretty much did another read through of the manuscript.  My beta reader found a couple of things like words that are unnecessary and a few other things, but I know that’s coming.  There’s one hundred forty thousand words there, and I’ve only given this a pretty good read through, and a so-so yesterday.  There’s probably three or four more edits ahead of this act before it’s to where I want it.

I know this, because I’ve become a better writer in the last year.

But the manuscript is nice and need, and if I’d wanted I could have made this an .mobi and let someone read it straight up as an ebook without navigation.  Or maybe with it, because you can have Scrivener set up your own table of contents.  I should try that and see if it works.  The people could get here sooner:

When Helena smirks, a shiver should run down your spine, 'cause it's not a good smirk.

When Helena smirks a shiver should run down your spine, ’cause it’s not a good smirk.  Don’t worry:  Annie will get to see it next week, ’cause she’s gonna have fun . . .

And right there is where I go from one scene–The Witch House–to another–Selena’s Meadow–with the four “#” there to show where the break happens.  I have them labeled for me, but the reader won’t see them–unless I set it up in a table of content and allow the person reading this on an ebook to go right to the scene.  Not a bad idea, actually.  A bit of work, but . . . if you’re paying to read a huge first act, then you should have the option to do it your way, right?

This gives me extra incentive to get back to The Burg in one piece, ’cause I’ll have someone eager to read Part Three real soon.  Like . . . yesterday soon.

I knew I should have formatted that when I had the time last night.


Leave a comment

That Ol’ Time Editing Feeling

You know what I hate?  Being up at five AM with thoughts running about in my head for a blog post I want to write, but I shouldn’t, because I know I’m going to piss off a lot of people if it’s written.  Then again, that’s nothing new:  I’ve had lynch mobs on my ass before because of things I’ve written, and as other writers have said, if you don’t piss off someone with your writing, you’re doing it wrong.  The thing it this post will take time, so I’ll likely save it for the weekend so I can savor the ill-will I’ll receive after it’s posted.

Or maybe not.  Maybe it’ll make some sense.

For now, however, I need to put those thoughts out of my head, because the day is starting and, baby, it’s cold outside.  I do not look forward to the walk to work, but it must be done because bills don’t pay themselves with money found growing on these now-bare trees.  It’s the way of the world, unfortunately.  It would be so much nicer to just have people give you money to do things like write.

Last night was like a trip down memory lane–one that, this time, wasn’t strewn with rubbish and the bodies of characters to drink and recreational chemicals.  Nope.  It was a good memory time, one that relaxed me and had me thinking about where I’m going with this stuff I do at night.

I got into editing a novel.

I’ve had a friend’s novel sitting on my computer for a bit, and now that my own stuff is behind me I’m setting aside a few hours every night to get it cleaned up.  Keep in mind:  this isn’t my work.  This is something I said I’d do for another person.  And doing I am.

I brought it up, threw on some tunes, and got right into work.  I’m working with a pdf, so I’m making annotations as I go along, correcting punctuation, fixing passive voice, and adding a note here and there where I feel it’s necessary to bring up an important point about the plot.  It requires reading and reattaching myself to another author’s characters who, I’m happy to say, I enjoy seeing.  Sure, there are times when I read a line and wonder, “What the hell does she mean here?”, but that’s part of the fun of editing–

"No--it's impossible to do that with a polar bear.  I think she meant walrus."

“No–it’s impossible to do that with a . . . Oi.  I thought only I wrote this kind of madness.”

The thing is I felt right into the routine.  I had music playing and a manuscript before me, and I read and made my little marks, and all seemed right in the world.  No distractions other than those I allowed myself, so the work proceeded well.  I have to take my time here, because I don’t want to miss thing, so before you know it a couple of hours are behind you and twenty pages are edited and down for the count.

It’s the first time since I finished my own work in progress that I’ve felt at easy.

That’s because this is what I should be doing.  This is what I was meant for me.


8 Comments

Toil and Bubble

Into each life comes a little depression now and then–or, if you’re me, it sort of hangs around waiting for me to leave the front door cracked a bit so it can come stomping in and make itself at home.  That’s how yesterday afternoon was:  I’d finished my blog post, I’d finished laundry, and I was going to sit and work on an article . . . and I couldn’t.  The old depression had kicked in and I didn’t feel like doing much of that.  I also didn’t feel like watching TV, either, because I’d sit and watch a couple of my favorite movies, The Bridge on the River Kwai and Laurence of Arabia, and after fifteen, twenty minutes of sitting I had to get up and do something else.

Part of it is this feeling of wanting to “do something”, to have other things going on besides sitting in the apartment and staring at the walls.  Money has been tight of late, and that cuts down on getting out, but there’s also this feeling of isolation I’m experiencing.  Now that I’m not writing–or at least actively working on a story–the old feeling of sameness and routine has once more taken over, and it sucks.  It sucks bad.

I really need something new in my life.

Tonight I’ll start in on some editing.  I have something that’s been sitting in my queue for a bit and I’ll jump into that and work out getting it out, but I’ve also the inclination to get back into some of slush pile as well.  I have tons of stuff waiting, and there’s so much editing to do, it’s hard to know where to begin.  Some of my shorter things is really the best jumping off point, but I have a couple of novels that need this attention as well.

It would be a bit easier if I had one of the witches from my Salem school to come and help me.  Maybe they could cook up something that would help get out of these feelings–though we know from experience that my Professor Sladen doesn’t like cauldrons, and she’d probably go after a poor witch with her magical Super Soaker if she caught them using one to mix up a product.

"Any minute now that crazy lesbian is gonna come along and whack me . . . And why am I holding a lantern?  Can't I just like put light in the air?  *sigh*  I shouldn't have skipped Spells that day."

“Any minute now that crazy lesbian is gonna come along and whack me . . . And why am I holding a lantern? Can’t I just like put light in the air? *sigh* I shouldn’t have skipped Spells that day.”

Editing is a good thing to get into.  I have too much stuff laying about, and it’s a great way to get out the old.  Plus . . . I’m considering setting up an account on Durotrop and sending out stories for sale this time, and not just working towards self-publishing.  It’s great experience to get rejection slips, but even greater experience if you make the sale.  A full year’s subscription there is $50, and one could blow that much at Starbucks in a week, so if it opens up a new beginning for my stories, it’s well worth the money.

If I’m going to find myself in a routine, it may as well be one that I enjoy.


8 Comments

Tools for the Making

I’ve been around software a large part of my life.  I started taking classes in computer programming in 1979, and began writing code for real in 1982.  Most of what I’ve written has ended up on IBM boxes, though I have dabbled in web based applications, including one that took the better part of a year to write because I ended up slinging about fifteen thousand lines of code before it was all over.

Even today I’m coding.  That’s my day job:  playing code monkey for the State of Pennsylvania.  As it is said, it pays the bills, though after thirty years of it I’m ready for something else.  That’s one of the reasons why I write, because I’d like to be able to work on my projects full-time and not have to spend nine to ten hours a day engaged in endeavors that hold very little interest for me.  I also write because I love to tell tales, but I would love it were it to become my full-time job.

Because I’ve found myself so connected to software for so long, I find dealing with it to be somewhat intuitive.  Most writing software seems to follow a pattern for me, and once I get the basics down the more difficult stuff tends to come once I’ve had time to play with things.  I’ll find something that looks interesting and mess around, get a feel for what I can do, and if it works for me I’ll keep it.  If not, I file the information away just in case it is something I can use later.  Most of what’s in a program really falls under a 40/60 rule:  about forty percent of the stuff in a program is gonna be your go-to stuff, and the other sixty percent is there if you find a reason to use it.

Yesterday’s post received a lot of attention.  Probably because of the pretty picture I included with all kinds of time lines and talk of history, but I have received a bit of feedback about the things I’ve done and what I’ve used to get there.  I’ve written about software a bit in the past, and most of the time the responses I’ve gotten are great.  Sure, I’ve gotten a few, “I never plan anything, ur a hack,” comments, but I tend to laugh at those these days, because who needs that negative energy?

"No, I don't need negitivity in my life:  that's what my job is for."

“No, I don’t need negativity about my writing: that’s what my job is for.”

Since I have time, I thought I’d spend a few days talking about my process:  how I set things up, how I get things plotted out, how I try to tie things together to make my story coherent, what I do with the software I use.  I’ve done a little of this from time-to-time, but this would be with a little, or lot, more detail.  And since I’m intimately tied into my current work in progress, it’ll make a good test bed for discussion.

The hope is that someone will see something that I do, and imagine how it might work for them.  As I told someone last night–someone who was like, “Most writers say they just write”–what I do works for me; what you do will work for you.  That doesn’t mean you might not see something that looks like it might work for you and use it, however, so why not throw that out there?

It’s always worth throwing things out there and seeing what happens.


14 Comments

To Ride the Residency

There are a few things I’d like to do while I’m out here in The Burg.  I have my eyes on a place I want to visit once the weather starts to agree with normal people, and there’s another location that I think I could visit under the guise of collecting resource material for a story.  (Hint:  it would have something to do with space.)  But now something else has appeared on my radar, and for the first time in a long while I’m excited by the possibly that the event in question could be one of the best things I’ve ever done.

I’m talking about Riding the Residency.

Okay, so what am I taking about?  It appears that Amtrak, the organization in this country that handles rail travel, has given to residencies to writers to ride the rails.  One writer has already taken the New York City to Chicago run, and another is setting up for a cross-country sprint in mid-May to travel from New York City to Portland, Oregon.  And by residency I mean they’re letting them ride for free so they can work on their writing and talk about the experience.  The woman who did the NYC to Chiberia (as we were calling the city during the January polar vortex attack) run spent fifty-five hours relaxing and writing and generally having a good time, and who isn’t about a good time when they’re writing?

So, Amtrak, allow me to explain why putting me on a residency run would be a great idea:

1.  I love riding trains.  I’ve commuted by train for years.  I’ve ridden from Chicago to Florida by train.  I’ve taken them to work.  I’ve even ran the European network and spent a few hours on the French TGV, which I consider one of the best experiences ever, and one of the reasons I feel we need high speed rail in the U.S. like yesterday.  I like other people doing my driving while I sit back and enjoy the view, so a long trip that involves getting some writing done in the process is a big win for me.

2.  I am Ms. Social Media.  You want Tweets of the trip?  How about I up that ante and start posting my adventure to Facebook with pictures?  How about getting two or three blog posts out of the adventure, which will go out world wide in case you’re interested.  I could even put this adventure together in an ebook and offer it up for free on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

3.  I have friends in a lot of different cities, and many of them are creative as well.  I know an independent film writer/director down in the Big Easy; maybe she could take a return trip with me and work on a screenplay?  I have a writer friend in New York City who would like to run to Atlanta; we could do a run together and Chatty Cathy the adventure–or kill each other along the way, which would also be entertaining.  I’ve friends in Seattle and Portland who I could meet, and on the way to both those locations I could stop in Denver and make fun of the Hell Pony who apparently couldn’t bring any mojo to their local sports teams.  I could visit my Magical Girl Katie in Minneapolis and I could get pictures of my Twilight Sparkle plush kissing one of her mecha models.

4.  I am a writer.  Okay, so I’m not a big-time Stephen King-style writer who could probably buy a train for this sort of thing, but I have sold one story and self published two more, and I’ve always working and writing and trying to get my work out there.  That means I’m just like Rick Grimes in that I have stuff I’m working on–you know, things.  During a long trip I could probably do a great edit on a novel and prep it for publication.  Or start on Act Two of my current work in process.  Or write something completely new during the trip.  I’m open, you know?

It’s simple, really:  I need a seat, a place to put my computer and a plug for power, and a wifi connection to allow me access to the Internet, and I’m ready to roll outta Harrisburg for points unknown.  Oh, and I live within walking distance of the station, so I just throw my stuff in an overnight bag, get my computer into my backpack, and ten minutes later I’m ready to pick up my tickets.

I’ll be in touch.

My bags are packed and I'm ready to go . . .

My bags are packed and I’m ready to go . . .


25 Comments

Act One Interludes

About last night . . .

It is said that if you’re going to write a novel, you need to write every day.  Most writers will tell you that you have to do that anyway, because if you want to make this your job, you just do it.  You sit down when you don’t feel like it and write something, even if it’s just ideas that need jotting down.

I began writing The Foundation Chronicles Book One: A For Advanced on the night of 30 October, 2013.  I know this because I have it marked down on my Author’s Page on Facebook.  Last night, 18 February, Act One of the novel was finished.  According to the date calculator on the Time and Date website, that’s one hundred and twelve days.  And there were three days there where I didn’t write, because of travel and illness, so I required one hundred and nine days to reach a point where the last thing written was, “They went home.”

Simple and to the point.

"Twas nothing!"

“Twas nothing!”

There it is:  Act One with Part Three–my longest part–finished.  Seventy-seven thousand, five hundred words to work out a week in the lives of two kids who are leaning what the words “special” and “witch” really mean.  Of course the first week of their adventure required the first two parts, and sixty-one thousand, eight hundred seventy-five words as well.  I’ve actually sat and looked at this and went, “Really?  Almost eighty thousand words to work out a week?”  Yeah, I do that.  Some writers write as much, or more, going on about one day, so I’m in good company.

Since there isn’t anything planed for tonight, I’ll adjust my schedule a little.  There is a little Italian restaurant just across from the capitol building that I’ve had my eye on for a while, so after work I’m gonna stroll on in there for a quiet sit-down dinner.  Don’t know what I’ll eat, but I do know I’ll order a glass of red with the meal.  Then take my time enjoying both, because this is a thing I’ve earned, and most of the time when I’ve either finished a work I’ve just went, “Eh, what’s next?”  Not this time.  This one was a hell of a job, and one hundred twelve days of coming home and bringing up the manuscript so I can get back to adding more to the story–it’s like finishing the first leg of a triathlon.  It’s a lot of work, but there’s still two legs to go.

That doesn’t mean I won’t stop thinking about what’s to come.  I do that anyway.  But I won’t start on Act Two until the last day of March, and if this next section were to run another one hundred and twelve days, I’d finish Act Two on 21 July.  Then a nice break until the first week of September, and that begins the leg of the race that takes me to The End.

I’ve got it all figured out; I only need stick to my schedule.

In the mean time having some moments to myself is a good time to edit and bring out the stories that could stand a little publishing.

A writer’s work is never done . . .


5 Comments

The Renewal Rag

I heard the crows out early this morning, though they didn’t come close to me.  I guess they were busy delivering messages, so they didn’t have time for my sorry, half-awake butt.  That’s okay:  I cawed back at them, which they probably interpreted in a good way.  Probably.

Today there are a couple of things going on.  First off, it’s Imbolc, so a blessed day to all.  This is the day when the seasons began changing, Winter is slowly forgotten, and people make way for Spring.  This is also one of the holidays at my functional school Sigel/Salem, so they’ll find themselves eating a lot of dairy products and lighting candles and lamps just after sundown–though I’m sure some will be cursing the fact the seemed to be stuck in a pagan hell where they’re hearing how the goddess Brigid (she the protector of all things perceived to be of higher dimensions) was another deity ripped off by the Christians and turned into a saint, which is why some know of this day as St. Brigid’s Day.

And if you live here in Pennsylvania, you know it’s also that most holy of holies, Groundhog Day.  I’ve already heard a couple of people talking about it, wondering when the fat rodent is going to get yanked out of his hole to prognosticate on how much more winter we have.  You know how much we have left?  That much.  It’s over when it’s over.  Though this year it’s possible Mr. Groundhog is gonna get taken for a ride and shown how one used to run up points in Grand Theft Auto and take to the byways, kickin’ it old school.

"Keep an eye out for Elvis; dude is worth a butt-ton of money."

“Keep an eye out for Elvis; dude is worth a butt-ton of money.”

It’s interesting, because I’m so near the end of Act One of my novel, and Act Two–which I likely won’t begin writing for a month to six weeks after wrapping up Act One–ends on Imbolc.  The kids in my story will be putting the last year and winter behind them and prepare for the coming of spring–and then The Foundation shows up and decides it wants to put a couple of students–you know which ones–through some changes that will take up a good portion of Act Three.

I can be a so-not nice person to my characters.

At the moment I feel like I’m writing a scene a night–did that last night.  Though sometimes it takes me a couple of nights to finish up a scene, as happened before that.  I figure if I can keep my scenes to around a thousand words, more or less, then that’s a good night of writing.  I have two more scenes to write for this chapter, then a couple of longer scenes in the next chapter, two shorter ones after that–

It’s like I have it all figured out.

I already have one project waiting for me:  it arrived in the email  this morning.  Also this morning I woke up with the nom de plume I’d like to use when I self publish my fantasy erotica stuck firmly in my head, ’cause there’s money to be made there, and I want some of that cheddar.  I even have a story lined up for that pseudonym, and since that one is relatively short and sweet, I can probably edit that between the other work I’m doing.

Change is here, and it’s time to renew the energy.

Maybe I’ll head over, bust out Groundie, and take him on a road trip.


15 Comments

Millennium

Here is it, the one and only, my 1000th post.  After nearly three straight years of coming here to share, with my audience and followers, my almost-innermost thoughts, I have reached a most impressive goal.

"It's all darkness and misery, leading to a lonely, pointless death."

“What is the point?  In the end it’s all darkness and misery, leading to a lonely, pointless death.”

Thanks, Frank.  I knew I could count on you to bring the good times to the party.

At least there are others who feel differently . . .

"I already knew your inner thoughts and secrets--your passwords were easy to break, even with the childish encryption you used."

“I already knew your inner thoughts and secrets–your passwords were easy to break, even with the encryption.  You are a sad, foolish girl.”

Ray of sunshine you are, Lisbeth.  Don’t you have a large Swedish corporation to take down?

What started me down this strange path?  Well, to be honest, writing.  Not writing a blog, however.  No, not at all.  When I first started this sucker I was going in fits and starts, and my postings were uneven.  I had nothing to say, I just posted things here and wondered if anyone would read them.  And frankly, I gave very few shits if anyone did.

What started me working hard on the blog was when I was writing my novella Kuntilanak.  I wanted to get into the habit of writing, and it wasn’t just enough to work on the story, because I was afraid I would–as I had done many times before–just give up somewhere along the line.

Then came the brilliant idea:  what if I talked about writing my story by writing on my blog?  It’s simple:  I work on the story in the morning, do a little editing in the afternoon, and at some point in between I’d set up a post detailing my writing exploits.  Not exactly the greatest idea in the world, but it kept me writing my story–and it’s kept me writing my blog.

And how much have I kept writing.  I went back and looked, and found that the last day I didn’t post an entry was 24 March, 2012, a couple of months short of two years ago.  However, there were two posts on 23 March because of something that kept me from posting on the 24th.  So it’s not really a missed day, just a day where I posted the day before.  The last day where nothing was written:  8 September, 2011.  Which, if you’re following the details of current work in progress, is the actual day Kerry is shocked so badly by the Queen of Sorcery, Helena Lovecraft, that he ends up spending the night in the hospital.

Coincidence?  You tell me.

So much has changed since that summer of 2011.  Since then I’ve been through three jobs, and I’ve moved for two of them.  I still suffer from depression, but not nearly as much as back in 2010 and 2011.  I cry more, but that’s because I feel more, I’m not cut off from my emotions any longer.  I finally came to grips with my gender dysphoria, began seeing a therapist and came out, and now spend a reasonable portion of my life as female (as opposed to Life in Technicolor, but you can blame Coldplay for that).

Most of all I write.  I write stories, and I write on my blog.  I’ve sold one story and self-published two.  My sales are crap, but I’m keeping at it.  2014 is the year I start sending more things out, because I’ve got a slush pile and a half waiting, and it’s time to move that monster.  Talk is cheap, and I got bills to pay.

Yesterday and today I looked over my posts and my stats, and decided to list my ten biggest posts in the history of this blog.  We  aren’t talking huge numbers here, and with the exception of one time when I was sort of damned with faint praise by someone who said, “You only get about forty hits a day?  I thought you were huge.  I get more than that,” I’m happy with my few thousand followers who literally come from everywhere on the planet.

Behold my Global Empire!

Behold my Global Empire!

Since I’ve always wanted to do this, allow me to offer up my own top ten.

 

Top Ten Posts of All Time:

10. If I Go the Plane Way, 8 November, 2013.  140 views.

This was about a set of scenes I was working one during the last NaNo, and how I used Scrivener to layer additional scenes under existing scenes.

 

9.   The End Beginning Again, 5 January, 2014.  144 views.

This was about my idea file, and how something I’d thought about using for an old story in the file was considered for a much later story I wanted to write.  This is the only post from 2014 to make my top ten.

 

8.   Time Tunneling, 16 October, 2013.  148 views.

In the run-up to NaNoWriMo 2013 I went into a lot of detail about how I set up my novel, and some of the things I was doing with time lines.  This was the third of my “October Three” where I had fantastic hits for three posts in a row.  Just as I did layers of scenes, this showed how to do layers of timelines within timelines.

 

7.   You Are Now Leaving Silent Hill, 22 September, 2013.  167 views.

My first “Daily Excursion” post after arriving in Harrisburg, PA.  I ran up to Centralia, PA–which was once used as inspiration for the art direction of the movie Silent Hill–walked around, got pictures, and lived to tell the tale.

 

6.   Preparatory School, 14 October, 2013.  207 views.

The first of my “October Three” post, where I show the lay out of what was to be my NaNo 2013  novel, and that is still my current work in progress.

 

5.   Playthings in the Hands of the Arbiters of Decency, 27 February, 2012.  231 views.

This is the only one of my rants that made the top ten.  It was about how PayPal was getting crappy about being used to pay for what it saw as smut, and how it arbitrarily decided to impose rules that screwed over a lot of writers.  Things are much better now, unless you write monster smut . . .

 

4.   Dancing with Demons, 4 November, 2011.  272 views.

The oldest of my top tens, this one puzzles me.  I was four days into my first NaNoWriMo, hard at work on Her Demonic Majesty, and I threw this one up pretty fast.  And for some reasons it has pulled in nearly three hundred hits.  Must be the demons . . .

 

3.   Done Ready, 21 October, 2013.  312 views.

A quick discussion about how I was ready to start NaNo 2013.  I say in this post that I’d finish the first book of The Foundation Chronicles by 31 December.  I think I meant I’d finished my drugs then.

 

2.   Timelines and the Aeon, 15 October, 2013.  644 views.

The middle of my “October Three”, and the biggest by far.  This is where Aeon Timeline ended up on my computer and I told everyone about it.  Apparently a lot of people liked that.

 

1.   Penultimate Daydream, 2 May, 2012.  645 views.

And this is another puzzle.  Why?  Because nothing much is said here.  Well, actually, there is, but it doesn’t make that much sense.  I was sleep deprived, I hated my job, I was almost hallucinating.  It was the day before I turned 55, and the incident I speak off while dining, I did think someone I knew was dining with me.  And then they weren’t, and it killed me.  I’ve always wondered if there was some kind of bot that drove the numbers up.  Not that it maters today.

 

Honorable Mentions:

The Rough Guide to My Alternate Chicago, 12 December, 2011.  120 views.

This was the first post where I really got into talking about the wonders of editing, and though most writers hate it, about this time was when I was starting to love it.  And so I have to post my love.

 

Hail, Scrivener!, 31 July, 2011.  128 views.

The oldest of my posts with more than one hundred views, this is where I started talking about Scrivener, and how much it was helping my writing and my story telling.  What was nice about this post was there was a comment from the Scrivener people, saying they enjoyed the kind words I had for their product.  That was when it first hit me:  there are people out there actually reading this stuff!

 

In looking over some of my old posts I saw likes from people who no longer blog, who have vanished from the face of the Internet, who I wonder about.  Blogging isn’t something you stick with day in and out for years.  I’m probably one of the strange examples, getting up every morning and cranking out my five hundred words, or more, before starting out my day.  And if any of you who used to blog, who I used to see every day, are still out there following me–hey, I miss you guys.  Hope your life is treating you well, because we all need that.

What comes next?  No more special posts for a while, that’s for sure.  If I do another, it’ll come when I reach my 2,500th post, which over four years away.  And that begs the question:

When will I stop blogging?

Because everything comes to an end, doesn’t it?  In four years I’ll be sixty-one, and I can’t say if I’ll still show up here, blogging every day, or if I’ll still continue churning out stories that no one reads.  Or if I’ll even be alive, cause the next eleven hour run back to Northwest Indiana could see me flying off the side of the Pennsylvania Turnpike at high speed into a valley, all the time regretting nothing.

Or perhaps I will have reached my dream of being a full-time writer, and I can be like Chuck and blog to all the word slaves out there (the penmonkeys are his), giving them encouragement and telling them why they shouldn’t stop, because look at me, I made it.

I won’t be quitting any time soon.  I can’t.  I still feel as if I have something to say.  But should it become time to move on and find my wide awake dreams elsewhere, I’ll fall back on this quote–something I heard over Christmas, and something that speaks to me of what can be the finality of change:

 

“Times change and so must I. We all change when you think about it. We’re all different people all through our lives. And that’s ok, that’s good, as long as you keep moving, as long as you remember all the people that you used to be. I will not forget one line of this, not one day, I swear. I will always remember when The Doctor was me.”  The Eleventh Doctor, The Time of the Doctor.

I’m not quite as good at The Doctor, but I do remember so much of who I’ve been these last three years.  I remember the people I’ve known, those who’ve been a pain in my ass, and those whose friendship and help I have cherished through the years.

And I remember those who have left their mark on me in such a way that it will never be erased.

A thousand down, and still more to come.  Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine.

There are stories to be written, you know.


8 Comments

The World Beneath the Water

Lets roll out the new from last night, first.  It was “I’m Off Night,” last night, because after dinner and a little shopping I had zero creative energy to sit and do anything.  I knew what I wanted to write, but after a good hour of looking at the story, I finally say, “I think I’ll just sit and relax,” and did that until I started falling asleep at ten PM.  It’s not a bad thing:  sometimes you need to recharge your batteries, and if that means a night off, then take it.  I don’t have anything to do today, so it’s a good time to make up for last night’s lost time.

So what I’m going to talk about today is something completely different, and in the process of this discussion I’m going to bring up some things about a rather well known television show about zombies where no one ever says the word zombie.  There will be times when I’m gonna go all Ms. Spoilly McSpoil, so if you don’t want to read something that’s going to cause you to shake your fist at your computer screen while you scream, “Curse you, Cassie!” through clenched teeth, then read a book, listen to music, or watch some good movies–TCM will show Bonnie and Clyde, Jaws, and Alien back-to-back tonight, so you might want to keep that block open.

I have given warning–you know–

Or is that, "Don't Dead, Open Inside"?  Maybe I should check . . .

Or is that Don’t Dead, Open Inside? Maybe I should check . . .

There’s a meme that’s been rolling around Facebook of late, one that doesn’t actually involve some kid getting picked up for a DUI in Miami.  No, this is a picture of a huge iceberg, floating peacefully along while waiting for a ship to smack into it.  As you know an iceberg is pretty much under the water, a huge thing you never see, which is probably good because you’d likely get hypothermia swimming around trying to get a look-see.

The part above the water–the small part–is labeled “Movie”, while the part below the waterline is labeled “Novel”.  You know what they’re trying to say:  the parts you see in a movie are only a small part of the story that’s adapted from a novel–if, of course, the movie is adapted from a novel, and it’s not an original tale.

But this is often true.  One could point to any of the biggest movies of late–the Harry Potter films, the Lord of the Rings, the Hunger Games–had to leave out a lot of the story to get the tale up on the screen.  For some tales you need to do a four or five hour flick if you want to get everything on the screen–or do as was done with The Godfather, which took the early life of Vito Corleone and worked it up as a flash back around original material.  And in doing this, they still left out a lot of the story.  (Maybe due to threats of a lawsuit by a certain Italian-American singer and actor who’d won an Oscar who didn’t like a character in the novel who was Italian-American singer and actor who ended up winning an Oscar, all with a little help from his godfather.  Purely a coincidence, I’m sure.)

When you translate a novel to television, however, you are allowed a little more leeway, because you have, if you’re lucky, more time to develop your story.  Rich Man, Poor Man was a good example of the early television mini-series, where you could take your time moving as much of the story from the page to the screen, and stay true to the material.  Yes, some things don’t get translated well–maybe due to things that are going on inside a person’s head, or, depending on the times, there are things in the story that violate a network’s “standards and practices,” which is a fancy way of saying you’ll never get a particular scene past the censors.

This is pretty much alleviated by the advent of premium cable these days, where one can pretty much get away with showing so much that the joke has  become, “It’s not porn, it’s HBO.”  Yes, there are some things that HBO won’t show–in A Song of Ice and Fire our lovable Mother of Dragons was more like I’m Just Barely a Teen Mommy of Dragons, so she was aged up just a little for Game of Thrones.  And by “just a little,” I mean she could have appeared on 16 and Pregnant–with DRAGONS!  Which is a reality show I’d watch . . .

Basic cable has gotten into the act as well.  Breaking Bad was a true gem of drama, with a story and characters that was at both times compelling and revolting.  This was, however, an original show, and the story could develop as slowly and fully as the creator/producer liked.  And that brings us to the real iceberg of this tale, The Walking Dead.

"I don't speak with an English accent.  I'm from Kentucky; no one from the South speaks with an English accent."

“I don’t speak with an English accent. I’m from Kentucky; no one from the South speaks with an English accent.”

At the moment the AMC show is three-and-a-half seasons into a four season run, with a fifth promised.  It’s done very well in ratings and has a loyal, sometimes fanatical following, but that’s to be expected with any fandom.  The show follows this guy, Sheriff Rick Grimes, who wakes up from a gun shot-induced coma and discovers that, no, he’s not in Indiana, he’s in the middle of the Zombie Apocalypsetm, his family is missing, and everything he’s known has gone straight to hell.  In the process of the first episodes he finds his family, a group of survivors, and most of all his best-I-left-you-for-dead-and-I’m-bangin’-your-wife-friend and former partner from the force, Shane.

The show has followed the meta plot pretty closely:  they find Atlanta messed up, they find  Hershel’s Farm, they find The Prison, they find The Governor, they fight The Governor, they lose the Prison, and as of right now they’re On The Road looked for each other and safe harbor.  Since it’s been stated they run into the traveling trio of Abraham Ford, Rosita Espinosa, and mullet-sporting Eugene Porter, the metaplot will have them heading northward to the Alexandra Safe-Zone, where life won’t exactly become any easier for them.

I’ve only watched the show off and on throughout the years.  I usually haven’t had the time to watch the show, though these days I find there is more time in The Burg for relaxing, so I have watched episodes off and on.  I’ve also been an off-and-on fan of the comic, which has run since October, 2003, and is now up to Issue 120, with a confirmation of printing through Issue 132.

In terms of iceberging, this story is the perfect iceberg.  There is so much that has been set by the wayside in order to get the story on the screen.  About half of the Prison story was removed, for example, which could have been an entire season in of itself–instead of, say, a whole season of hanging out on The Farm.  That season could have seen Hershel losing two of his kids to his zombie kid in the barn, Tyreese’s daughter and boyfriend messing up their suicide pack, the beheading of Hershel’s twin daughters by crazy prisoners, Tyreese giving Rick a beatdown and throwing him off a second-story walkway, Carol deciding to do Death By Walker–

Wait, what?

Like I said, there were a lot changed to move the story from the comic to the small screen.  For one, they got rid of a few characters:  Hershel had a huge family, and he pretty much gets to watch six of them die almost right before his eyes–the last one, his son Billy, does when he takes a bullet to the head during the Woodbury assault on the prison. There are a few prisoners who make it as far at the Woodbury assault but no further, and one of two Woodbury defectors also meet their end at that point as well.  Dale–he of the famous show’s Dale Face–survives well beyond the Woodbury assault, only to be eaten by cannibals while on the road to Washington, D.C..  He is also the one who loses a leg, but since Dale was long-gone by the time of the show’s Prison Time, that leg bite went to Hershel.

Oh, and the Show Rick swears a lot less than that Comic Rick, but that’s because It’s Not HBO, It’s AMC, and while the show may be able to get away with a “shit” and “asshole” now and then, having Rick throw out the word “fucker” every so often wouldn’t go over well, and tell Michonne and Tyreese that the Woodbury folks “have fucked with the wrong people!” is pretty much HBO fodder.  And there’s a few sex scenes, because even when you’re surrounded by the undead, there’s always a moment for sexy time, right?

"This is my resting bitchy face.  I'm really not as bad as I'm made out."

“This is my resting bitchy face. I’m really not as bad as I’m made out.”

And then there is Lori.

If there is a part of this ‘Berg I find way the hell off, it’s the way a few of the women are portrayed.  In the original story, Lori is concerned, she’s protective of her family, she admits to having had sex once with Shane but no more, she makes it through Judith’s birth, becomes a protective mother–and then dies in about as gruesome a manner as one can imagine.  If it’s any consolation, her death–and the death of another–leads to the death of The Governor, but by that time Lori’s a Walker in Training and gives no shits.

The Show Lori, however . . . when your character is made out as the worst thing in a world full of undead looking to eat you and your loved ones twenty-four/seven, three hundred and sixty-five days a year, until the day you join the shambling herd, there is something seriously off.  By the end of Season Two most viewers, given the choice of having their face gnawed off by a hungry Walker, or having Lori ask them if they saw Carl in the house, would say, “Hey, Walker:  you want a side salad with my face?”  No way was she ever getting Mother of the Year awards, and given the narrowness of that field in the story, it’s a pretty damning indictment for her character.

The same thing was done with Andrea.  On the show she was something of an annoying pain in the ass who got separated from the group, was rescued by Michonne, went to Woodbury, hooked up with The Gov, waffled back and forth with the, “Is he good, is he psycho?  I can’t kill him, the sex was pretty good,” line, and ultimately ended up dead due to her own kind of stupid.

"No, I never shot a redneck by accident.  If I shoot him, he ain't gettin' up!"

“No, I never shot a redneck by accident. If I shoot him, he ain’t gettin’ up!”

This is more the way she really was:  kicking ass and forgetting the names as soon as they were dispatched.  And that scar on her face?  That’s from taking a rifle shot to the head, which sort of kinda put her out of action just a little in the final Woodbury assault.  But, in the comic story, Andrea’s still alive, still kicking ass, and pretty much Rick’s girlfriend at this point.  A lot of her personality in the original story got ported over to Carol, who, on the show, you learned not to be near if you had a bad cough.

I can understand some of the changes that were made:  it’s basic cable, you only have so many episodes in a season that can air, you wanna cut through as much of the Peyton Place stuff as possible and stick to the action, and you never know how long your actors can stay with you, so sometimes you kill off ones where they shouldn’t die, and keep around those who should have died because they’re good for the story, which is to say fans like them, and fans equal viewer, so go with that.

That, ultimately, is why you have the iceberg when you translate a story to a screen.  Reading is one thing, the visual medium another, and a lot of the people doing the viewing aren’t necessary going to be doing the reading.  There are a few exceptions to the rule–Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings instantly spring to mind, as well as a few superhero movies based upon other comics–but in the case of TV, it does seem that you have a lot more people who watch the story, and are surprised as hell when one tells them that what they’re watching was based upon a book, or in the case of TWD, a comic.

It’s an interesting thing to look at from the point of being a writer.  I’ve seen more than a few Facebook threads that go, “If your story is made into a movie, who do you want to play your characters?”  A better question may be, “If your story is made into a movie or television show, what would you be okay with getting changed or dropped?”  After all, your story would end up someone else’s iceberg.

And there’s so much water in which to hide.


8 Comments

Felina

Last year at this time the post was named Los Endos, which was, for a very long time, the closing number Genesis used in all their live shows.  This year the title is taken from the series finale of Breaking Bad, and gives you and indication of how I feel about 2013–

Which is to say, it should end up like a bunch of meth-making Nazis being gunned down with a high powered machine gun.

The last year hasn’t been that bad, but that’s sort of like saying getting shot in the knee isn’t as bad as being shot in the stomach.  It still hurt, there was still a lot of pain, but I was able to recover much quicker.  Not to mention I have a position–I won’t say job–that is affording me a bit of income, and I’m not constantly scrambling to pay bills.  Not the best of times, but damn sure not the worst of them, either.

Writing wise, what do I have?  First off, this post is number nine hundred and seventy.  In another month I’ll hit one thousand, and there will be celebrations and dancing and . . . eh, maybe I’ll have a beer and a good dinner to celebrate, and post pictures of the event.  I never thought I’d still be here after all this time, but I am.  I’ve stuck it out.  I’m still penning my thoughts and keep people entertained, I hope.

As for my grand plans for extending my vast writing empire?  Well . . . not quite as good as I’d hoped.  I wanted to publish four stories during the year; I managed one.  One novel.  But that one novel taught me something, which is that if you’re going to publish a novel, you gotta really get everything right before you do.  There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into that process, and going at it half-assed is likely one of the main reasons why self-publishing is still sort of looked upon as something of a bad literary joke.  But I did get my novel out, and I will get her fixed up in 2014.

As for the rest?  I did write.  It may seem that I didn’t write as much in 2013 as I did in 2012, but the tale of the tape is thus:

Suggestive Amusements:  72,000 words
The Foundation Chronicles:  The Scouring:  54,000 words
Fantasies in Harmonie:  24,000 words
The Foundation Chronicles:  Book One, A is For Advanced:  90,000 words (as of last night, and climbing)

Two very real novels, a short novel, and a novella.  All done while preparing a novel for publication, and working a normal job, and blogging five hundred plus words every day.  Just on the four stories, that’s 240,000 words–or almost a quarter of a million as I like to call it.  Throw in the two hundred thousand or more words I wrote for the blog this year, and we’re looking at something like 450,000 written words for 2013.

Yeah, not a bad take.  I shouldn’t get down on myself.

The plan now is to finished the current story, and I think that’s going to happen end of January, beginning of February.  After that . . .

Well, I have ideas.  I just need to figure out what to do.


2 Comments

More Than This and Less

With the exception of maybe writing down a few addressed and double checking everything to make sure I’ve got it all in place, The Foundation Chronicles: A For Advanced is really to fly.  There is nothing more for prepping; at this point anything left is just busy work.

I’ve done prep work on novels before, and most of the time I’ve been over that stage in a few weeks.  My first NaNo novel was through pre-planning in about two weeks; my second in about a month.  This one has been going off and on since the end of May, but part of that was due to writing an intro novel to this series for Camp NaNo.  The actual work on this book has been going on for about three weeks, but my body and mind seem to think it’s been a lot longer.

My intuition tells me this story will top out around one hundred thousand words.  Throw in the fifty-three thousand I wrote for Camp, and by the end of the year there should be close to one hundred and sixty thousand words ready to edit.  Along with all the other stuff that’s ready to edit, which is in . . . well, lets see:  seventy-two thousand for Suggestive Amusements, around twenty-five thousand for Fantasies in Harmonie, six thousand for my short story The Relocator, and fifty-two thousand for The Scouring.  One hundred fifty-five thousand written this year, and this novel could take the world count to a quarter of a million.

Really not that bad.

But nothing published.  Yes, I have another edit to run on Couples Dance, but I’ve so many others ready to go.  It’s time to get the editing machine rolling.

After the first of the year there has to be a big push to get a couple of things published.  Edits and a cover for Couples Dance are required, but mostly edits; I do feel as if I need to give that story a process makeover.  Same with Fantasies in Harmonie:  I can see the story laid out in my mind, and there is a lot of “said, said, said” in it that I want to redo.  It’s something that needs fixing before anyone gets the book in their hands.  I’m also of half a mind to do that to Her Demonic Majesty and do a re-release.  Yes, nothing like a big rewrite to get things going again.

First quarter 2014 has to be a lot of editing and some publishing.  There’s too much waiting to get out, and the longer I sit on it, the longer it does nothing.  There is more than nothing, there is always something, but you have to make something happen.  It doesn’t do it on its own.  just like writing:  the characters don’t do thing by themselves, you make that happen.

If I don’t publish, then no one but me ever reads the tales.  I want more than that.

Big story and big plans:  it’s all ahead.  When does it start?

Sooner than you’d imagine.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,908 other followers