Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

A Sad Day

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

crichton_dino.gif

Michael Crichton died unexpectedly on Wednesday after battling cancer. He was 66.

Crichton wrote a lot of books, but my faves are Jurassic Park and The Lost World.  I don’t like horror or slash movies, but I could read about dinos eating people all day long. I have dreams of being chased and eaten by dinos, and they are never nightmares (they are always awesome). I will always be indebted to him for finding a somewhat scientifically plausible means allowing dinos to exist in the modern day.

As a kid, I remember walking the family dog at night and running back to the house because, swear-to-god, I heard a T-Rex in the woods.

Ironically enough, I began re-reading Jurassic Park last week. It won’t be the last time.

Rest in Peace, Michael Crichton, and all my sympathy to his friends, family and fans.

C’est la vie, n’est ce pas?

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

Remember last month when I declared that I was going to take a month off to concentrate on my writing?

Recall, if you will, that I was going to weed through the first draft twice before the Sept 1st deadline.

Remember that sometimes, just sometimes, I’m a big fat liar.

Recent events have forced me to adjust that schedule a little. It’s not because I’m lazy or don’t want to — on the contrary, I’d love nothing more than to sit and dedicate a nice delicious block of time to it.

Taking August off didn’t work out quite out the way I had intended, but it is absolutely 100% okay. An exciting project came along that I just couldn’t pass up; and, considering the grand scheme of things — you know, the things that don’t contribute to me meeting my writing deadline — in the grand scheme of things it will work out wonderfully. I get to flex my illustration muscles and creative mojo, and the financial boost will be perfectly timed by the project’s completion.

I pulled the trigger on a two-week trip overseas last week. Which is very frightening. And very exciting. And très cher.

I truly never thought I would ever deeply care about the value of the American dollar (that’s for old people, right?) but I so do. If it could shape up in the next week to something reasonably comparable to the Euro, that’d just be grand.
In other words, I have to take into account the extra-curricular paying passion, instead of the just time-eating passion. Nothing eats my insides like excuses, but I’m not really considering this as an excuse — rather, I’ve dubbed it necessary prioritization.

My words will still be there when I get back.

35 days

Friday, June 27th, 2008

43.jpgSo I was catching up with Justin last week and he asked, quite casually, “So what’s your next deadline for David?”

Ha.

I’m one goal-oriented sucka*, so my brain kind of stalled for a second when I realized I hadn’t set one yet (What? Preposterous! Unconceivable! I’ve been done for almost two months!). While my mind was sputtering (what is it now…? June. Or July? And then, what’s next: August? I mean, there’s like 200 pages, so that’s how many pages per day? Yikes!) my mouth responded with a cool “Uh, September 1st.”

Ha.

One way I make sure I meet my deadlines is to tell people, so I have to burden some self-imposed shame if I don’t make it… so I guess Sept 1st is now official. If I’d thought about it for longer, it might have been October 1st, or maybe even November 1st; but now it’s September 1st, which is sooner. Like, 30 or so days sooner. And I wrote SIX WHOLE LINES this week. Yeeg.

Which brings me to consider the illustration work that is eating all my Writing Time. So, in light of that: I’m taking a month off. Dammit. I will not be taking any new projects in the month of August, so if you want to commission me for something pretty before then, please let me know soon. I’ll be a wild, drawing, burn-me-out-to-blindness machine until July 30th. At that time, I will trade my Wacom for some good ol’ fashioned keys. Illustrator will be turned in for basic Word. And exhaustion will once again be based on the brain and not my eyes because of my ITTY-BITTY-MICROSCOPIC-SPECIMEN OF A COMPUTER SCREEN.

* See also: crazed, obsessed

And we’re back…

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

39.jpgTaking the month of May off of writing was the best thing I could have done. This time two years ago, when I’d finished first installment of The Sum of David on May 1st, I was chomping at the bit to get back into it two weeks later. I enjoyed the full four weeks off this round, taking care of some general life things while my brain recuperated from my writing binge in April.

I feel recovered, and my mind’s inner storyteller is ready to rock again. I’m getting random little jolts of inspiration throughout the day — when I sleep, on the bus, during work, when I’m reading. My brain is sucking up every day observations like a sponge takes water, playing out little daydreams on how I could use them on my characters and then tucking the scenarios away. That means it’s time.

I went to the coffee shop last night feeling nervous. I’ve been excited about getting back down to business since last week, but there are times when you just can’t get it right, despite the best intentions. I was afraid I’d sit down and dig my heels in only to find myself feeling lost and overwhelmed. Fortunately, after the caffeine was flowing and the music got loud, things happened.

There’s certainly no dressing it up, though. This one’s going to be tough. There’s so many little parts and pieces that have to fit together by the end. The first draft was hard, but I’ve got several parts that are missing that need to be filled in, and revelations I made a week ago that have to be put into place. This is by far the most complicated story I’ve tried to wrangle so far.

It also has the potential to be the best piece of fiction I’ve ever created.

I think I’ve got it in me. Time will only tell.

Great at One or Good at Many?

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

My 27th birthday came and went last week. To be honest, I sometimes forget exactly how old I am. If asked, I will undoubtedly pause and think about it. And then Josh will correct me when I guess wrong. (In my defense, I’m usually only a year off. They all started to blend together after 23.)

Anyway. I’ve been struggling for a couple months now with my various activities — Design, Illustration, and Writing — and how they affect my life and balance with one another. And there’s a battle going on.

Design will always be Priority #1. It’s not only my bread and butter, but I lurve it. I love creating visual solutions, and drooling over other people’s work. Package design, a good logo, a beautifully integrated illustration or an amazing commercial… it all makes me warm and fuzzy inside. There are so many wonderful ways to conquer the same problem — that is, communicate a message in a unique and memorable way — and I haven’t found them all yet. There’s nothing else I’d rather spend 40 - 60 hours a week doing. Illustration is that back-burner love that has fallen back into my lap, which is lovely. And writing is something I’ve been doing for years, and I’m only recently feeling ready to explore the professional end of it.

This is where my conflict lies. I have three things that I love to do, and so I divide my time amongst those three occupations. I understand the idea of wearing many different hats, and I’ve been juggling all three competently enough. But does splitting my time between those three somehow rob one of them of the potential to be the best it can be?

For example: if I’m never published, will it be because I didn’t give writing the due concentration it needed?

I never want to stop pushing myself, and I love them all. But I have to wonder if I’m sacrificing the quality of one to pursue the others. So what matters most here? Quality? Or quantity? I would usually say quality… but when the quantity is improving the quality of life as a whole… where does that leave things?

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This is heavy thought for a beautiful Friday. Let’s have a donut.

And: Scene!

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

Pooped

I wrapped up the last part of David’s sequel at around 3 am this morning. It’s been a tough few weeks, but I’m feeling good about the finished product. I’m also exhausted, since I’ve been putting in 8 - 10 hours of my day job and then heading straight to the coffee shop to write for another 5 - 6 hours. But I hit the May 1st mark, so yay me. I’m excited, but also POOPED.

At one point I typed “understanded” and was filled with a millisecond of rage when Word’s spellchecker put a little red squiggly line under it. I thought, “What the hell? What’s wrong now? That’s how you spell it!”*

Here’s some yummy facts to chew on while I recover.**

The current manuscript is 150 pages long.

That’s approximately 72,000 words, nearly 40,000 of which were written in the last four weeks. It will undoubtedly expand and contract when I begin editing.

In my brain it is simply “David’s sequel”. In my laptop, it is called “SoD BK2 v01″. I’ll come up with a better title eventually. Hopefully.

It’s my fifth novel and the second of a planned trilogy.

The above illustration is a rendition of me late last night/early this morning. I was feeling loopy and absolutely inundated with LETTERS. So that’s me… feeling loopy… made out of letters. Merry Christmas. Zzzz…

*That is so not how you spell it. Or conjugate it. Or whatever.

**This recovery will absolutely involve alcohol. And probably a nap.

Wait a minute!

Friday, April 25th, 2008

I’ve been a busy bee: I’ve written 20 pages in the last 6 days, which is approximately 9,000 words. I am still 30 pages out from my goal. But, then again, I’ve been a solid 30 pages away from the end for the last week. I added another layer to the plot, which certainly doesn’t help timeliness. It may endanger my deadline of May 1st, but will improve the story. But still: regarding deadline, I remain undeterred. I’m still full steam ahead and going to do my darnedest to get done by Doomsday.

Until I return to regularly scheduled programming, watch this and giggle.

“I can’t go back. It’s so cold!”

How you do that voodoo that you do…

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

It’s funny how the things we put off and save for later can end up being the things that inspire the stuff we have to do now.

When I write a rough draft, I leave blank places. Josh can attest to this, since an early draft he read a few years ago simply had “___________” where the names of some secondary characters would go. He had lots of fun filling them in with names like “Mr. Poopy-Pants” and “Stupidhead”.

95% of the story is present and accounted for when I do this, it’s just where there might be some tiny holes in the plot or where I’d like to insert some foreshadowing but I’m not sure exactly what I’d like to foreshadow quite yet. Or, honestly, I just don’t feel like writing that bit right then: if I’m happy, it’s hard to write sad, and vice versa. And sometimes if I do, I’ll end up rewriting it later because it was forced anyway. So I follow my gut, and skip when I’m not truly not feeling it.

I’ve been plodding ahead as usual this month, leaving my usual notes: [DREAM GOES HERE] and the like. I’d just sat down for a fresh session when I saw a similar notation — [BAD GUY UPDATE] — above the six lines of the newest scene. I’d really intended on saving him for later, since I’ve been trying to sharpen my characters recently. I’ve been feeling a little lost, and they’ve been feeling a little hollow — like I can’t pin down their motivation.

In an act that was purely procrastinational, I dived into that note. In a page and a half, I remembered what an bad guy this man truly was and what my protagonists were up against. Why they couldn’t win, but had to anyway.

And I don’t feel lost anymore.

Initiating hermit sequence. 3,2,1…

Monday, March 31st, 2008

I was never able to remember which months have 30 days and which ones have 31. A girlfriend tried to teach me some sort of trick where you sound the months off while counting your knuckles, but I ended up just playing with the tendons that pop out and turn white when I make a fist… But according to my fancy-schmancy computer, April has 31 days.

Thank GOD.

The deadline for completing the rough draft of my current novel is May 1st. I thought I was doing pretty well. I thought I was on track. I thought I had time.

After some investigation, however, I’ve discovered I’m actually less than halfway through the story, less than halfway to my word count and I’m feeling less and less confident about meeting my deadline.

But I do have a spectacular stubborn streak when I can conjure it, and I think we’ve almost struck that gritty, balls-to-the-wall gold.

Will I meet this stupidly impossible self-imposed deadline?

Oh my, yes.
It might be paved with caffeine, sleep deprivation and nervous breakdowns, but I’ll see you in May with a manuscript in hand.

Strike Two

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

…aaaaand there’s the sting I expected from the first one.

I read my second rejection letter today. The agent actually sent it a month ago, which is made a little more embarrassing due to some technical ignorance that left it buried in another email address. And since I totally sent a follow-up email yesterday to check on its progress…? Whoops. I’m suppressing the urge to send her  yet another email to apologize for the mix-up, but seeing as I would have thanked her for time and then wasted it on two unnecessary emails… Yeah, the self esteem is sitting a little lower than usual.

Andrea Somberg (aim for the stars, right?) sent a very polite and personalized email passing on The Sum of David. I got from her words that she read not only the query but also the sample pages. Agent eyes that read the query and advance to the sample chapters mean the query letter is fine, which is great news; but she said she regretted it didn’t draw her in the way she had hoped it would. Ouch.

Do you have twenty minutes to spare? Check out the Sample Chapters and let me know what you think. Celebrate the anonymity of the internet by giving me a vicious critique on the first four chapters of my masterpiece. While I’m not ready to jump head-first into another editing overhaul, it’d be great to know how I can spice it up.

Oh well. Back on the horse.