Archive for January, 2007

Chapter Four: Put Onto the Path

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

Mmmm… a little exercise in multiple personalities. This was a another fun scene to write. The Guide Post is such a colorful visual in my head (even if it is constructed of grey clay). It is an interesting thing to see something so vividly in my mind’s eye and not be able to translate it onto paper. All I’ve been able to put down over the last three years are just general sketches.

In the first carnation of this story, the masks could leave the spire if they wanted to, kind of ducking back into the interior of the pole; then they could zoom around the world by squeezing onto other Guide Posts throughout the rest of the land, spreading gossip and information. I haven’t completely written that off for the future. I especially like the idea of having some sort of foreign-mask-exchange program between the Posts: then you’d have Red, Fred, Zed, and… Frank? But we’ll shelve that for now.

I’ve been reading “On Writing” lately by Stephen King and I’m enjoying it a lot. Interestingly, I’m not a huge King fan. I tried to read The Stand in high school, but put it down after the first fifteen pages. And it wasn’t the size the pushed me away — I’ve read the Wheel of Time series, for crying out loud — I just couldn’t get into it. Maybe I’ll try again some day. But I also have an aversion to subjects when they become really popular, even if the acclaim is warranted.

But “On Writing” is very casual and informative, and I like King’s writing style; it is casual, simplified, humble and down-to-earth for a guy who’s so successful. The whole first half is a biography, and it does a good job to humanize him. I’m about 3/4 through book, and I’m putting it down after my morning bus ride with a distinct feeling of approachability, both for the industry and writers in general. It’s all very encouraging.

Chapter Three: Too Many Faces

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

David walks on, looking for something that might resemble a destination. Waiting until chapter three to visually describe him could probably be seen as a questionable decision, since I could have technically given his physical appearance when he woke up in the grass. But this became the natural place for it because this is when he had time to sort of mentally regroup. David knew he was David upon waking, and with the quick arrival of the pig he wasn’t too worried about build and skin color. Hopefully, his introspection simply helps build some details.

Interestingly, although I wrote the story for my younger brother — who is of course also 15 — David looks nothing like him. They are both tall and lean, but different in every other respect. We Arnolds are a fair-skinned, blond-haired folk. My grandfather asked me in exasperation why I didn’t name the main character Seth or make them look alike. I made the story for him, not about him.

Plus, what if I ever wanted to write David in some sort of romantic setting? That question should answer all others.

Also, I love the Guide Post. It was like letting all the parts of my brain talk at one time…

Chapter Two: The Worse of Two

Sunday, January 14th, 2007


Ah, the Buffalo. This is one of my favorite chapters. You get more insight into what kind of person David is — “No offense” — and I love the imagery.

One thing that I have a problem with in my writing is description. My poor mom got a draft that was ridiculously detailed. I always want the reader to see exactly what I see, and something I’ve struggled with is letting some of the minute details go.

It’s important to trust your reader, and that was one of many things I learned on this one. Just because the Buffalo means something specific to me doesn’t mean I have to relay every miniscule fact to the reader. Hopefully you can feel his massive majesty without me going over him with a finely toothed descriptor comb.

I have noticed some rogue capitalization, which is unfortunate. The Buffalo becomes a Pronoun later, which I caught in some places and missed in others. I got three great books for Christmas regarding editing, and although I thought I’d just about proofed this manuscript to death, I suspect I’ll be doing a few more run throughs. I’ll re-upload the chapters when I feel they’re even more polished, but for now I’m leaving what’s there up and available. Nothing in the story will change, but how it’s told will hopefully continue to improve. So read on, read on.

Chapter One: This Isn’t Home

Monday, January 8th, 2007

And thus, we begin our journey. David wakes up… somewhere, and immediately finds himself in danger of being skewered.

I intend to post a blog entry at least every Monday, in keeping with when the chapters update on the site. It may be pertinent to that specific chapter, it might not. Right now: let’s talk about the starting process.

The beginning is a tough thing. You’re setting the tone and feel for the whole shebang. I wanted to have some level of mystery in this without being unnecessarily aloof. The first ten pages of this project went through at least four different incarnations. In one he was in school, and we got an engaging view of his personality. In another he was having strange dreams, which was yet another interesting insight but somewhat ineffective at getting things rolling. In the third… well, that’s the beginning of the sequel, so I’m not telling.

So I took what advice I’ve read over and over again from writer’s books and blogs: start the story where the action begins. Drop them into crazy conflict right away, that’s what I say. There’s a Prologue, admittedly, because I still wanted to show the outer interaction; I wanted to show the ‘before’. But I tried to hit the ground running.

Comments and constructive criticism are always welcome.

Moving Right Along

Saturday, January 6th, 2007

Along with many exciting (and aggressive) additions planned for the site, we’ve been making little improvements as the days go by. Chapter 1 updates on Monday, and that’s when the real story begins. Josh and I played crazies on Friday night, getting Chinese and Redbulls after work and digging our heels in until we fell over. Much of his progress is back-end and invisible to the naked eye but will make the site run more efficiently. We did get the link for the About page up, which is nice.

It is an interesting thing writing copy for a website… I am naturally long-winded in my writing, and I always end up doing a lot of cutting. Trimming a section like the ‘About’ was tough — there’s so much I want to share! But then again, I guess I also have a blog, so I guess I can do all the more in depth sharing here. Updates continue.

Jan 1st, 2007

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007

Yesterday was the day. Since I was recovering from some miscalculated revelry on New Year’s Eve, I didn’t have the appropriate stick-to-it to bring the site in with the right amount of amazing fanfare, but here you go: thesumofdavid.com

There’s still quite a bit to be done, but it’s a GREAT place to start. Since the site is intended to change according to the events in the story anyhow, growing it as chapters are being released is more than okay. In the works are some interesting transitions and informative links about the project, not to mention some incedible little details to add to the web experience while a user pokes around.

Major kudos and thanks go to my partner (in life and crime) Josh Sager, of stardotstarcomics.com fame. He is the reason anything remotely interesting is happening at that url, and I am lucky that he is so excited about the enormous task list we’ll be undertaking in the next couple of months.

Here’s to 2007!