Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year’s Resolution

Thanks to Christmas I am enjoying my afternoon at my local Barnes and Noble at someone else's expense.

It is rather enjoyable, I must admit, to sit here guilt free. The book is complete so there is no pressure to crunch it out before this year's end. If there was to be any guilt today it would be that I have not blogged nearly as often as I should.

So maybe as a New Year's resolution I'll make a pact with myself and those who read this that I will blog more often. Okay, maybe that is not realistic given the number of 'honey-do' items I have listed on the paper hanging on the refrigerator. How about this then? What if I instead make a promise to complete the next book of the Protect the Risen series by this time next year? Can we all live with that? I hope so. In fact, I would like to shoot for a novel a year, maybe more if I can. Again though, let us stay in the real world and just consider one a year.

Have you made your resolution? Is it achievable? Does it make sense to you and can you work towards it all year long. I find so many people this time of year ask of themselves such difficult and oft times unachievable things. I believe I have not done that; I truly think I can knock out another novel this year. So again what is your resolution? Did you pick one that challenges you? I hope so and I wish you well with it.

Good luck and happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Timing and Editing

Timing is everything, or so it has always been told to me.  Therefore it should come as no surprise that on the particular day I'm dreading putting pen to paper I come across a nice blog post that nearly mirrors my thoughts.  Okay, maybe dread was a bit harsh just then, never the less, I'd rather not tackle my manuscript today.

The book I've been working on for the past year is finally complete, content wise, so the long trek of editing now begins.  I'm faced with reading and rereading the same words over and over again, a task I submit to you is quite daunting.  Heck to be honest it is can be darn right boring, working day after day tweaking ideas that have been floating around your head for so long.  Now don't get me wrong I'm happy overall with what I've composed, so it is mostly just the repetitive nature of this beast I’m dealing with.  

There are days where I will read something and go what was I thinking right there.  Then others where Word will nearly explode trying to figure out what I'm trying to spell.  However the fun days are the ones where I'm looking up the phone number for Webster's letting them know I'm creating a new word and can not believe they don't already have it listed.  Like the word 'dumblify' it should definitely have its place in our literary world.  It would mean the act of lowering someone's intelligence by someone or something else.  For example, have you ever sat at a table with someone and realize the longer they speak to you the dumber you feel, almost like they are bringing you down to their level.  Yeah its kinda like that.  hey wait your not thinking this post is dumblifying you is it.  Dang, sorry about that.     

Back to being serious again though, I do run across the other days with my book.  Those rare gem of days where, believe it or not, I get a single tear roll down my face as I read.  I'm so overjoyed with happiness and pride for what I have created.  Then  I can simply bawl when I get caught up in a character’s story too.  So it is those days quite possibly that help me roll passed the boredom and the dread.     
Coincidentally, like I said, I'm not alone in my dread or ‘hate’ for hitting the manuscript during this truly important phase of creating a story. I discovered over at Rants and Rablings many others who have gone through this as well.  

I plan on pushing through it using the time off from work I have coming up and the cold weather blowing in from Ole Mr. Winter to snuggle up to my work and just 'get r done.'  Thankfully, along with my inner editor, who slows me down and doubts what the heck I’m doing; I also have an inner work ethic to help push me through till it is ready for the public.  A day I'm really looking forward to, a day when the words ‘complete’ and ‘done’ will hold treasured meaning for me. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Eerie Dream

So I guess the message for the day is 'careful what you listen to before heading off to bed.'  As a writer one of our basic natures is to have a creative and oft times environmentally susceptible mind.  Meaning we take what we know and what we experience and use them to fuel our storytelling.  Quite intuitive, nothing new I suspect is learned from that being said.  As it turns out this tool though is hard to turn off or so I'm coming to discover.  With practice I hope to at least learn to throttle it better.

If your thinking of writing a novel, or any length story I would suggest a dip in the research waters on the actual art of storytelling.  Myself I'm doing it backwards, my story is complete and I'm going back now and making sure I've including all the important stuff, with the hope of not having to rewrite to much of it.  We'll see, so far I'm doing okay.  At any rate, one particular lecture I have recently watched was called Creative Writing Story Structure, broken into 12 parts posted on youtube by architectus777.  

In the lecture he describes the basic elements of crafting a good story.  I had listened to the first three parts before drifting off to never never land.  During those three episodes he covered such things as plot, opponents, themes, and goals and in doing so a nice little story of his own was beginning to form.  In it the main character seeks out his sister's rapist and wants revenge, along the way he has a revelation and decided killing the bad guy wouldn't do any good.  

The lecturer also through the course teaches that a spectacular ending can really make or break a story and gave a good example of how Sixth Sense achieved its success from having such surprise ending.  The Sixth Sense had a so-so beginning and end but it was really the ending that drove it into another realm.  On a side note, I was thinking of another good one that has a great ending, The Scent of a Woman.  When Pacino delivers that address at the end to the school disciplinary committee I was in awe (goosebumps), and have remembered the story to this day.

So off I go to bed with bad guys and surprise endings on my mind.  The dream I had, which unfortunately I remembered when I woke, began all nice and sweet.  The main character was a guy who had moved into an uppity condo/apartment complex.  Shortly after his arrival he discovers an attraction for the neighbor lady.  They go on a date and when he attempts a second is snubbed, she's just not interested.  We then seen him walking the streets passing by schools, houses and ball parks.  He is alone and depressed with ahead hung low and eyes darkened under the brim of a hat.  A short time later we get a news flash that a man was caught by the police a suspect in a homicide and rape spree he had committed.  Scene then pans back to his apartment and on his bed face down is the neighbor lady obviously the victim of a viscous murder her back soiled with blood stains.  The news flash then switches back to the police car, and inside is the feller again.  he's the bad guy, eek!

Now I realize it doesn't feel like a surprise ending the way I described it above, but trust me it felt that way in the dream state I was in.  The guy had seemed so unassuming throughout the entire dream, no malicious nature about him at all, then wham he's the bad guy.  Go figure?  Needless to say I woke up in an eerie state of mind, but at least I had something to chat about today.