Sunday, October 19, 2014

What It Is - the week ending 19 October [2014]

With apologies to Dave the Thune.

So...I don't update here as often as I should be (that's an understatement).  But seeing friends like Brad & Matt, as well as Don McMillan, offering regular posts at their respective sites, it's obvious I need to do something to keep up - and, really, who's going to check Warrrior27 out when the top post never changes?   Time to face reality.

Why haven't I been posting here more often?  Easy answer - time.  There's never enough time to get everything done you want.  I have a day job.  I'm a father and husband - and I do not want to take away my family time for writing, as a general rule.  And there's always working out and sleep, along with all the books & comics to read and the films & television shows to watch (I'm still two seasons away from finishing LOST and have yet to watch Battlestar Galactica, while Locke & Key is still unfinished [should remedy that soon] and the latest David Mitchell novel hasn't even made it to the to-read pile).

So, time.  It's not going to materialize out of nothing.  I'll need to carve that time out somewhere to make this a regular - read: weekly - thing.  But I can do that.  And here's that first baby step.

Preamble:  My daily writing goal is 1000 words.  This takes roughly an hour (though I think about what I'm going to write throughout the day; it never stops).  For a long time, I was aiming for this but having trouble achieving it.  Again, it was that constriction of time.  I needed to make the time.  So I decided to schedule an hour, after my son was in bed and my wife was heading to bed to read, within which to get this writing done.  And it worked.  So well, that I began carving out an hour at sunrise on weekends, to get my writing done before everyone got out of bed.  Not surprisingly, my output increased and my writing has certainly improved.

Writing regularly - at a similar time each day - has certainly made it easier to sit down and get the words out.  The muse shows up more regularly when you train your mind to expect that you will be writing at the same point each day.  Also, I approach my writing in a wholly different manner now.  I am thinking more about craft, about the plot, about how to "upset the apple cart" and add tension to the scenes I am putting down.  Scheduling your daily writing is, perhaps, the most important thing any aspiring writer can do.

So, this week.  I've written roughly 5500 "new" words, while dropping 2400 words onto critiques at the Comics Experience creators' online workshop, which comes to about 8000 words for the week.  For the year, I just passed 248,000 total words (broken down into New Words, First Revisions, & Critiques).  My goal is to hit 300,000 for the year, and I think I'll make it.

The project on the front-burner right now is a novel called "On the Ledge," which is an expansion of a short story I wrote a number of years back.  Thus far, it seems to have legs, and I feel this could be a breakthrough piece of fiction for me.  Currently, I'm at 141 manuscript page, totaling 37,900 words (an average novel runs about 100,000), and I just passed one of the major plot points in the outline.  So, I'm feeling good about that.

And I had a short comic story, drawn by the incomparable Angela Allen, accepted for a quarterly independent comic anthology.  I'm really excited for this to see print.  If you want to check out a sample of Allen's art check this post out - which is just below this one, as it is.

I'm currently reading volume 3 of Harlan Ellison's Brain Movies - collections of his screenplays and television scripts (both filmed and unfilmed).  Volume 3 includes two versions of an unfilmed story, Cutter's World, from the late 1980s.  I finished the first script, written for television.  It was classic Ellison, with fantastic ideas and cool characters.  Next, I'm going to read the film script and am curious to see the changes between the two versions.

I also finished volume 4 of Joe Hill's & Gabriel Rodriguez's amazing comic series, Locke & Key.  That volume ended with a plot twist that was brilliant, for a number of reasons.  One of the tropes (or maybe accepted realities) in horror fiction is the fact that the people being terrorized are never very smart.  They always make the dumb move, the foolish decision, that the audience yells for them not to make, that inevitably ends up with someone bloodied and butchered.  With volume 4 of Locke & Key, Hill & Rodriguez show up characters, in the Locke children, who are not dumb, who are able to see connections and begin to figure out who it is, in their midst, that is causing all of the harm and horror.  And they take action to stop him/her/it.  But, with a brilliant and elegant twist - playing off something first seen in volume 1 - Hill & Rodriguez bring the terror even closer to the Locke family, while making them believe that maybe, finally, there can be a respite to the craziness.  It was fantastic.

Started watching season 1 of the Newsroom with my wife (I did mention I was way behind in my TV viewing above).  It's Aaron Sorkin.  On HBO.  I loved it.  Sure, the hectic pace of the dialogue can, at times, become irritating and problematic.  But that is easily overlooked for the brilliant lines that come out of the mouths of many of these characters.  Loved it.  We watched the first two episodes, and are all in on this one.  One of the things I greatly appreciated came, in the second episode, when the newscast lost their major interviewee and did not come through, in the end, with someone to equal the person they'd been advertising for that night.  It was refreshing to have the "heroes," for want of a better word, lose.  Well played.

Also, with the return of Twin Peaks in 2016, I bumped the original series to the top of the Netflix queue.  What a great show.  Damn.  David Lynch is a genius.  Looking forward to rummaging through this seminal series, which helped spawn so much of today's "new golden age of TV."  3 episodes in, already, and, I have to say, the series holds up and would not feel out of place next to Mad Men or Breaking Bad or the Sopranos.  Great, great, stuff.

So, we'll see if I can keep this up.  One week down, an infinity to go.  And, hey, if you made it this far head on over to In the Mouth of Dorkness and Donist World, and check out what Brad & Matt and Don have to say on all things, geek, nerdy, and cool.  You won't be disappointed.


No comments: