Seasons

October 8, 2013

I’ve been away for some time, both from blog and from writing in general. I’ve gotten a little work done, but not is much as in seasons past.

My sister is also a writer. I asked her recently about her work and her progress. She replied that she hadn’t gotten much work done. She added that we all have seasons and now wasn’t a season for work. 

That scares me though. I might have many more seasons of little work ahead. This scares me because it’ll be that much longer before I can quit my day job and pick up my dream job of writing full time. Most authors I see that have “made it” to that point are well into their 30′s if not 40′s.  I wonder how many more seasons stand me and that same goal. It’s scary to think I’ll be treading water for many more years. 

My current day job is more rewarding than most, but this season… most seasons… working feels like treading water. Writing feels like breathing.

As of late I’ve gotten too comfortable holding my breath. 

So I cheer to the seasons: May their passing revitalize you. 

The Future

June 10, 2013

http://www.ted.com/talks/andrew_mcafee_what_will_future_jobs_look_like.html

 

Take 15 minutes to watch that video and get acquainted with the future.

We’re moving toward very grand times. I just hope our economic policies and social policies can keep up with our technology.

I’ve been away from blogging for a while, not that I blogged very frequently to begin with. Two weekends ago I was in Ohio for Rock on the Range, the biggest rock festival in the states. It was my fourth year going and it’s an experience that I’d be very hard pressed to pass up.

I almost didn’t go this year. I had an opportunity to attend the Gaithersburg Book Festival, which happened to fall on the same weekend.

I chose the concert.

It wasn’t because I had tickets six months in advance or that I would be seeing Korn for the first time (they were the band that got me in to Metal).

I just wasn’t ready for the book festival.

I had been working my butt off, writing, trying to find editors, and looking in to promotion,  but wasn’t enough. I didn’t have a new book ready in time and I wasn’t about to rush the publishing of another book. So in those few weeks before that weekend, I chose to go to the concert.

Because in the balancing act of writing and life, life is winning. For right now, anyways.

Writing is so many things, an art, an outlet, a way of life, but publishing is a job and I’m trying to find a balance.

Every bit of life you live enriches your writing.

Payoff

March 10, 2013

My friend’s and I were talking about our jobs over a few beers the other night and we got on the subject of payoff. Not paycheck but payoff.

“I sit at a desk and do busy work and I don’t see any payoff.”

I like my current job. I manage a pool and teach swim lessons and coach swim team. Every day I get to see a little bit of the impact I make. My job is very rewarding compared to my friend’s busy work job.

I try to think of writing as my second job (or third, but who’s counting). And depending on how you look at her writing can be a harsh mistress. On one hand you see the immediate payoff of words on a page or words on the screen. On the other hand, there is little in the paycheck department (I sincerely hope that’s not news to any aspiring authors).

Most of the authors I’ve read about start making livable money once they’ve written a few books and have multiple titles selling at one time. From what I’ve gathered this is especially true for self-published authors.

That’s where I’m at. I’ve been alternating my concentration on writing and learning about the marketing/business that goes along with it. My goal is to slow down and concentrate on writing and finding the payoff in the written word. The paycheck will come later (eventually… hopefully…).

If I can give any advice to the aspiring authors out there: Take it slow. Enjoy writing. Remember that is why we write. Everything else comes second.

New Year’s Resolutions

December 20, 2012

Everybody makes them. Sometimes we follow through on these resolutions.

That’s because most people aren’t ready for the level of commitment that these changes require. Want to lose 15 lbs? Be ready to commit to some form of a diet and exercise regime. Want to keep those 15 lbs off for good? Be ready to continue that plan for the rest of your life and modify it along the way. Sorry, I feel like losing weight is on everyone’s resolution list. Want to get published? Write a lot. Want to get better at something? Practice a lot.

When you’re thinking about resolutions for the new year, think about what each of those goals will take to achieve.

For all you writers, I challenge you to write a little each day. Do a little editing each day too.

I’ll be writing and editing each day from now on. Another goal for the near future is to get good enough at drawing to venture in to designing my own covers and eventually drawing my own comics. My goal is to draw at least 365 different sketches in 2013.

My last goal is to work on making an RPG tie-in for The Augmented Chronicles. I’ll be working on making the video game a little each day as well (and keep you gamers posted). Share your New Years resolutions below.

Happy holidays and Happy New Year to all!

NaNoWriMo and still writing

December 10, 2012

My goal was to stick with NaNoWriMo and produce a draft of the final book in The Augmented Chronicles trilogy. I’ve made progress, but I still haven’t finished the draft.

I’ve been writing, no worries. I’ve been back and forth working on the two unwritten books in the series, but also on a few edits to The Augmented Chronicles. Working on all three is helping me keep the little details straight. I’m hoping that these next two books won’t need a post-publish edit.

Just figured I’d give an update for those that cared to follow. NaNoWriMo was the motivation I needed last year, the first time I wrote a draft of The Augmented Chronicles, but this time around I couldn’t stick to just one story. I imagine this whole writing thing goes quicker when one can quit their day job.

Here’s to still writing after the month of November. Cheers

I finally purchased a PS3 a few weeks ago. I’m a gamer, I’ve always been a PlayStation fan, but rather than go and get a new game I browsed the PS network for old PS1 and PS2 games.

One of the games I’ve been revisiting is Final Fantasy 7 (FF7). It was the first Role-Playing Game (RPG) I ever played, and still one of my favorite games. I truly enjoyed playing through it, but nostalgia was not my only motive.

I was curious from an artists perspective, from a writer’s perspective as to what comprised this epic game. It had probably been ten years since I last played it, and I was quite surprised this time.

For those that haven’t played it, the story’s follows a rebel group called Avalanche as they try to liberate their city from the planet destroying clutches of the Shinra Electric Power Company. In true RPG fashion, the plot thickens and the scope goes from local to global as you realize that nothing less than the world is at stake. Yes, I’m oversimplifying.

RPG’s are among the games with the longest storyline (also gameplay time), not counting online multiplayer games that have no end. Their story’s are the epics of the video game world, which brings me to the point I’ve been getting at…

The length of your story directly affects the quality of your story.

I’m speaking in generalities, but there is a definite relation between quality and quantity.

A short story has to be perfect. A short story has no time to dally, no time to mince words, no time to bullshit. Every word is there for a reason and every sentence and paragraph must be perfect.

The longer the story, the more time the writer has to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. They can spend time using a sentence too much description (hell, sometimes even pages too much). They can draw out dialogue to make sure the reader knows exactly what is going down. Not every sentence has to be perfect. When the story goes on for several novels there will probably be several inconsistencies. Such is the price we pay for quantity. You can see this across most mediums of art: Music (single vs. album), movies (shorts vs. movie vs. trilogy), video games (classic or indie vs. action/shooter vs. RPG vs. MMORPG).

I’m not arguing for one length of expression over another. I think the story dictates the length; some stories are short, others are long. I think these lengths are concrete. Sure you can drag a short story out in to a novel, and crush an epic series into a single volume, but there will be sacrifices.

Most of the story ideas I’ve had fall toward the longer side. I find that I have many more ideas for novels than for short stories.

If you’re an artist, weigh in: Do you think in short stories or novels or series; in single songs or in albums?

Ah, National Novel Writing Month. Sigh.

This gauntlet was how I finally sat down and wrote the first piece of The Augmented Chronicles. I’d been outlining and writing bits and pieces for years, but never had anything cohesive. One month of writing and busting my ass got me a first draft.

That’s always been my problem. I’m an outliner. I can’t just sit down and write a story if I don’t know exactly where it’s going. Some people need to put their thoughts down on paper to see how an idea unfolds. Paper’s too slow for me. My head works just fine. But then that’s the easy part for me. Writing everything down, that’s the tedious part.

This November my goal is to write the first draft of the final piece. The tentative title of the third and final chapter of The Augmented Chronicles is Absolution. I’ve known how the story is going to end, and now I have enough of the chapters mapped out to warrant a first draft. My goal is to have it by December.

Before you get excited, I still plan on releasing The Regression first, and there is no where you can read this early version of Absolution for NaNoWriMo. I’m doing NaNoWriMo solo, and really just to push myself to make progress on the trilogy. I’m hoping this month will help me polish out all the consistencies before I release Regression in the middle of 2013.

For anyone else writing this month, good luck. And persevere!

There’s poetry to life. I noticed some just the other day driving to work.

I’m the evening manager at my local community college pool. This season I’ve started coaching the club team that comes to our pool. Coaching was a long time coming. I swam for teams year-round for 13 of my 25 years alive, and now I’ve come full circle.

Not only am I coaching for the first club team I ever swam for, my commute to and from work is along the same stretch of road that my parents used to drive to take me to those practices.

There’s a horse farm along that stretch. They used to have emu’s. I keep looking for them every day driving to work. I’m not quite sure what the poetry means or if it means anything, and there are some things written that aren’t supposed to make sense or come together. But I feel poetry there between swimming and my life and how they’ve intertwined.

The past few weeks have gone by quickly. I’ve been at work, keeping an eye on the pool and coaching practice. Then on the weekends I’ve been at swim meets from before sun up until sun starts to set. There’s some semblance of a social life in there… I think.

Aside from work I’ve been swimming and writing. The Augmented Chronicles is making headway, but I’ll tell you more about that in another post.

Just recently watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. People have been telling me to watch it for years but I’ve just now got around to it.

It’s fitting that I just recently wrote about moving to a new apartment and all the memories I had to sort along with the things I took with me. Without spoiling too much, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a movie about trying to forget things, more specifically people. The main character, Joel, finds that his ex-girlfriend, Clementine, has undergone a memory wiping procedure in order to forget their relationship. He opts to undergo the same procedure.

The result is that much of the movie takes place inside Joel’s head as he and the doctors navigate the  memories Joel shared with Clementine. This is done to stunning effect as memories begin to blur with one another, and the characters witness locations blurring around them. Some of the footage is downright trippy. Probably my favorite scene blending is a sandy beach, one of their strongest memories, combined with Joel’s room. He’s sleeping on his pull-out couch and finds sand all around. These blending of memories amount to strong imagery, especially as the audience finds out where these locations fit in Joel and Clementine’s relationship. It was a powerful movie, and good inspiration.

Dreams and memories offer freedom to a story-teller. Dreams are windows into the subconscious, our hopes, our fears, our desires. Since memory is a very active process and also very subjective, our memories are also windows to a place in the self akin to the subconscious. As a story-teller, dreams and memories give very intimate windows to show character to an audience. In some ways they show the most pertinent causalities in a character’s existence, a way “in medias res” cannot. But like all power, remember to use it responsibly.

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