Monday, November 29, 2010

Re-writes

A couple of months ago, I started some minor re-writes in my book. Without any nibbles on the query, I decided to change the story itself so that I could change the elevator pitch. Because of schedule changes, surgery, and a sudden lack of motivation, it took me longer than I'd like.

However, I finished the re-writes today. The changes I made are small, but the overall effect to the story is drastic. It shifts the focus of the plot ever so slightly, but it creates so much more conflict that I wonder now why I didn't write it this way in the first place.

I have to go back and proofread my changes, but that won't take me more than two or three days, especially since this is going to be a slow week at work. By the end of this week or next, I should be able to start writing a new query.

See! This is why you stick with your writing, now matter how much you want to give up :D Results are inevitable if you just keep working.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Untitled

So, NaNoWriMo is coming to an end in a few days. How's everyone doing with their goals? Did Thanksgiving set you back at all? I hope not :)

I'm stoked for two more days of the holiday. And, of course, on Monday I will be back to my writing. Have a great weekend, enjoy the mall, and don't get trampled :D

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Give Thanks, and please give.

Well I had an interesting post planned for today, but my schedule didn't allow me to sit down and blog until just now. And that means I forgot what I was going to write about.

So all I have to say is, "Happy Thanksgiving." Go spend time with your family, play some games, eat, drink, and count your blessings.

And if you're thinking of ways to give this holiday season, please consider Compassion International. They do some great things for underprivileged children around the world, and they're always looking for donations for Christmas gifts to those children.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Weekend Recap

So I saw Harry Potter twice this weekend, and I really liked it. The only parts that I didn't like were parts of the story that got changed due to liberties taken by previous filmmakers. If the 5th and 6th movies had been made properly (especially the 5th) then this movie would have been ten times better. But it didn't suck, by any stretch of the imagination.

I know some of the critics are blasting it because the movie just ends abruptly without any kind of climax or conclusion, but I only have one question for them: What part of "Part 1" don't you get? This is roughly half of the story. A story written into a single book that's been split into two movies. What else could you expect? No one complained when Pirates of the Caribbean did it with the second and third movies (and they REALLY should have because it was bad writing). And no one complained when they did it with the Matrix (okay, maybe everyone complained about the "sequels" to that epic film). All that to say: it was a great movie that the critics can just stop whining about.

If you like Harry Potter, go see it. It was awesome.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Harry Potter Tonight!

I'm ready for the movie tonight...and tomorrow...and possibly next weekend. Don't worry, it's not because I'm obsessed, it's because I have several groups of friends who really want to see the movie with us.

I can tell you, I'm excited! Harry Potter is probably my favorite book series, and the only reason it might fall to second-place on my list of favorites is because Jim Butcher is still putting out Dresden books. But if Rowling ever decided to come out with more books in the HP universe, I would be completely on board!

Alrighty then, I'm going to finish my lunch and get back to work. Have a great weekend, go watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mistakes

Many people learn from their experiences. We learn from the good choices we make, but more often, the most important lessons we learn come from our mistakes. Of course, it is possible to learn from other people's mistakes, which is why it's important for fictional characters to make mistakes.

Personally, I don't like making my characters mess up. But that makes for a boring story. One of the easiest ways that I know of to get my characters into trouble is for me to look at the mistakes that I've made. Recently, I got pulled over for something really minor, something the officer probably shouldn't have even bothered with, but since I was doing something I shouldn't have, I'll take responsibility for it. However, I started thinking, how would my protagonists handle this situation?

One of them might act similarly to how I'm going to, but the one I'm working on right now? He would probably mouth off to the officer, maybe even aggravate the man enough to get himself arrested. His car would be impounded, and the police would find an assault rifle in his trunk. And that's a consequence I don't even have to think about. If I take enough time and put any amount of effort into it, I could come up with some SERIOUS problems for my protagonist.

So go out, learn from someone's mistakes (even your own), and use them to create real, flawed characters that readers can relate to.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Missed a day...woops!

Yesterday I spent an entire work-day fighting a jurisdiction battle with some lovely people downtown. You see, I needed to deliver some equipment to a local venue for a client of mine, but the people running the dock decided, for some reason unknown to me, that I didn't deserve to deliver my gear. So I spent more than an hour just waiting for people up the food chain to make decisions that would allow me to take care of my client.

The biggest problem, really, is the group running the event. The union hands gave me some grief, but most of the times that I deal with this particular union I'm treated well and it takes me less than five minutes to get in and out. I guess this particular event-organizing company just doesn't like letting the exhibitors do their job. As a result of their policies (and this is only my speculation based on the experiences I've had with this specific group) I assume the union is required to be rude, disrespectful, and overwhelmingly unhelpful unless the folks delivering gear are actually members of the union.

I never have trouble with this union, either. When other organizations put on events, the local hands are polite, easy to work with, incredibly fast, and if it's necessary, they let me load and unload my own gear... gear that my dad's company owns in a vehicle that we also own. If it's my gear, in my truck, and I'm not allowed to touch it, there's something wrong. Besides, I treat the equipment better than they do. I have the right to work and serve my client, and it just irritates me that I don't get to do my job because a few guys are afraid of losing their contract...or whatever the problem is.

Anyway, I didn't get to touch my computer yesterday, so I didn't get a post up. See you tomorrow.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Writing is like a job

Looking back at this week I'm glad that I'm not a professional writer yet. Contrary to popular belief, professional authorship is not an easy job that lets you sleep late, pound away at the keyboard for two hours, and then go out on a bender for the rest of the night. It's a real job that requires a lot of work and effort.

This week, despite how little pain I was in, I could not bring myself to focus on my writing. Though my pain remained minimal, it was constant. That constant irritation got very distracting very quickly. Sure I could manage it with over-the-counter pills, but I couldn't ignore it. As a result, anything I tried to write turned out flat, boring, mediocre, and sometimes just awful.

On the bright side, I DID get some writing done, and while it's not perfect, I can work with it without starting over from scratch. I just didn't get nearly as much done as I would have liked on any other week where I had so much time off from work. To be fair, I didn't expect to get any writing done at all this week. I expected to be in too much pain.

So if you're still considering a career in writing, remember that, just like any other job, you can only take so many sick days before you start getting in trouble. Sometimes you just have to work through the pain.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Interlude

I really didn't expect to get much work done yesterday, what with getting my teeth pulled and everything. However, I did get a great deal accomplished. Sure, it's not as much as I would have done if I could focus, if my brain worked, and if I didn't feel tired all the time. But on the bright side, I haven't needed to take any pain medication (aside from over-the-counter ibuprofen) since Monday.

The down side? I'm well enough to work. Which means that, despite a night of borderline insomnia, I get to drive the box truck around town today. I'm not worried, I just want to sleep all day. Oh blessed sleep, how I miss thee. I also miss solid food like bacon, cheese, muffins, burritos, chicken and dumplings...you know, chewy stuff that gets stuck in your teeth! Salty, crumbly, flavorful foods that don't turn into liquid as soon as you put them in your mouth. (That's right, I'm already sick of jello, ice cream, and V8 juice.) I'm so desperate for meat that I'm heating up chicken broth to sip on for my "lunch".

There's even a stray thought in my head that's insisting I go get coffee on my way to work. Oh for calories! I miss food.

On Friday, I shall speak of writing once more. Hopefully.


If I haven't wasted away.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Someone tame my dragon

I have a dragon living in my home. His name is Edmund. He doesn't cause too much havoc. Most of the time he just lays around and sleeps. He's small enough to take up a corner of the couch, and he even curls up in my lap. Edmund is a adorable, and I'm pretty sure I could sue Dreamworks for basing their dragon, Toothless, off of him.

Sure, Toothless is just a cartoon, but he behaves exactly like Edmund. Edmund is mischievous, playful, and sometimes he gets protective of the people he cares for. Unlike Toothless, though, Edmund usually sleeps.

It's when he tears around the apartment that he resembles a dragon the most. I can hear his soft "roar" from atop the bedroom door, pleading for me to help him back down. I look at him and say, "You climbed up there, silly. Why should I get you down?"

He only looks and me and replies, "Meeooowww!" (Yes, my dragon is a cat.) And then I gently lift him off of the door.

Hopefully, as I try to recover from my upcoming wisdom-teeth-removal, my dragon will be a comfort, not a pest.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Friday Randomness

I have a short weekend ahead, mostly because I'm working for three hours tomorrow, and I have to work quite a bit on Sunday. This means I don't get a day off before I get my wisdom teeth pulled on Monday.

Speaking of which, I'll get a blog post up on Monday, but I don't know if I'll be coherent enough to write something up on Wednesday. It'll be a loopy, painful couple of days for me, but I WILL have something up next Friday.

I'm still trucking ahead on my current project, and it's progress that I'm proud of. I like the direction my writing is taking right now, and I'm less depressed about it these days.

On that happy note, have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Classics

I love books. I read many books, and I've gone out of my way to read some of the more popular classics. I read Uncle Tom's Cabin and Tom Sawyer in Jr. High, I intentionally read Shakespeare, and when I finish the handful of books in my "to read" pile, I plan on tackling Pride and Prejudice. Why do I do this? Is it because the books are so great? Are they "must reads?"

I have two answers to those questions, and those answers vary from book to book. One, I read them because I like to learn from books that were written in the past. I think reading older styles of writing is a great way to hone and shape my own craft. However, I would not say every classic is great in their own right. Uncle Tom's Cabin, Tom Sawyer, and much of Shakespeare's work are great reads, but man of the books that are considered "must reads" are just badly written when compared to modern authors.

I saw Citizen Kane a few years ago and walked away with the conclusion that it was the most boring movie I've ever seen... and I've seen MANY movies. Yes, it used some revolutionary techniques that changed the face of the filming industry forever, but that doesn't mean it's a great movie. I do think, however, that anyone interested in learning about filming should be required to watch it. It's the same with classic books. You don't have to read all of them, but pick out a few, learn from them, and use what you learn to shape your own style.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Go vote!

It's election day. It's a mid-term, too. Many folks out there don't vote in mid-terms, especially people my age and younger (I'm 25, for those of you wondering). I want you all to go vote anyway. This election is INCREDIBLY important, no matter which political party you associate yourself with. Again, I will refrain from getting specific on who I think you should vote for (even though I have STRONG opinions in that regard). I don't want this to be a political blog, so just GO VOTE!

In other news, the Supreme Court will rule on whether or not violent video games are protected by the first amendment. I know something under consideration is whether or not violent games (rated M for Mature) should require an ID for purchase. This is a big deal, but I've spoken of this subject at length. Just wanted everyone to be aware that there are some serious issues getting dealt with today.

GO VOTE!

Monday, November 01, 2010

NaNoWriMo

It's NaNoWriMo again, and like last year, I'm not participating. As I've gotten more entrenched in this whole writing thing, though, my feelings toward November's writing challenge have changed somewhat. I do still see a large percentage of folks who use this month to "begin their writing career," thinking it'll be easy. They'll take a month, write a book, and then by the end of December, they'll have a contract for a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Less than a week in, however, they give up because, hey, writing's a lot harder than they thought it would be.

On the other hand, there are some folks out there who seem to be waiting to write their next novel just so that they CAN participate in NaNoWriMo. They're writers with a novel or two under their belt (most of them unpublished, but some of them agented), and the only reason they haven't written their novels until now is because November was just around the corner.

And now it's here. They can take their outlines, character drafts, setting details, and lofty dreams and start crafting their new book.

To those authors who think writing is easy, I want you to know that sometimes it is, but there are going to be times when you need to really put some work into your craft. Editing can be rough. Querying makes you want to start drinking like Wilde. If you start this, don't give up. And don't try to do it alone. Join a critique group, get your book edited by people who have been doing this for a while. And remember, when they tell you what could be done better, it's because they want to help you make your book great. It's not personal, it isn't an attack against YOU, it's a critique about your writing.

To those authors who are participating for fun, or because it's time to start another project, just remember how much work you put into the last book you wrote :) This may be easier than your last book, but it may be harder. Again, stick with it.

And everyone, have a blast! Maybe I'll join you next year.