I haven’t made one of those retrospective New Year/End of Year posts yet.

So, let’s just pretend that I did and move on with business as usual.

Today I read a book. A whole book. At 12:30 this morning I tried reading a book to help me sleep but it only served to keep me awake until 4:30. I only went to sleep because I knew I needed to be awake at some point in the morning (I work up at 11:59 a.m. to be exact). Tonight I finished the novel while I put the Sugar Bowl on the background with the sound off. It’s not cool to see the Gators losing to Louisville but hey, this season went a lot better than expected and it was a fun ride.

So the book I read was Agent to the Stars. It’s a book by John Scalzi and it has accomplished two things for me.

1. It left me entertained by a book unlike some of my more recent readings.

2. It made me a little jealous.

Why the jealousy? Because the man states that this book was his “practice novel”. His practice novel was very good. A little sluggish in some of the details (I think he likes to let the reader know the logic behind his decisions for his characters a little too much because he also knows sometimes he puts in some wonky science to keep things fun.) Overall a solid read. And this was just…practice.

Dang…

Well I guess that means I’ve got a lot of work to do so I can produce a “practice novel” as well.

So, I’ve made myself a nice little glass of chocolate milk and grabbed a pen and pad for jotting down those precious ideas. I’m going to sit down tonight and bang out a few ideas. Maybe give one a whirl with a nice little rough draft. Then I’ll sleep on it. Let the miniature people that live in my gray matter do their work of repairing the damage from the day. Wake up and give it an edit and have a small existential crisis…then post it here for all to read.

That’s the plan.

Now I’m going to watch the final seconds tick away on the game clock for the Gators and then get to work.

D.A.

New Hobby

September 20, 2012

There is something very interesting that I’ve come across in my readings.

(That makes it sound like I’m a research scientist that commonly reads peer reviewed articles all the time. Or it makes me sound like I could be a wizard that reads old tomes for new spells in my arsenal. Or maybe I’m just a nerd for pointing this out.)

In some of the comics I’ve been reading lately the writer has decided to do something very interesting with changing the perspective of the story between two characters.

The comic is called The Unwritten. (It’s fantastic by the way and you should be reading it) Somewhere around issue 30 the author decided to speed up the story by releasing a new issue every two weeks. For comics, every two weeks is insane. Once a month is the standard throughout the industry (and still even popular titles get delayed from meeting this goal from time to time.) So what’s happening here is insane on some level involving logistics and timing.

But the story-driven purpose behind this move is to see the story through two different characters’ eyes. These two characters are the protagonist, a reluctant hero thrown into a situation not of his own doing, and the main antagonist, a very evil man that is immortal and relentless in reaching his goal. On issues with a whole number we learn what happens next to our hero. On issues that have a “.5” after the issue number we get to see more of the baddie’s story.

I don’t think I’ve ever read something like that before that also managed to flow quite so nicely.

While I won’t be able to do exactly the same thing I think I would like to give something like this a shot for my NaNoWriMo novel. I think I’ll incorporate the antagonists story as well. Could be a lot of fun. (I also recognize it could be a massive headache.)

With that said, I think I already have laid the foundation for a story that could potentially work out on this. My short story The Man in Blue could be fun to try and expand upon. I think there’s a whole lot to be said for our poor hero. I think there’s even more to said for our mysterious antagonist.

This is not an official statement on “this is the story”, but it’s a thought that I think could work. I’m also leaning toward my story about that one guy waking up in his underwear and traveling to another dimension. Or I could just totally come up with another idea that will haunt me forever.

Alrighty…that’s all for now.

Sleepy time she comes,

D.A.

 

 

Have you ever been frustrated when you were trying to learn something new? 

I remember trying to ride a bike with no training wheels. It was so hard. Months of effort had to be put into this whole ordeal. I fell. I scrapped my knees. My wrists were in shreds. Even my sweet and new Jammers helmet was all scuffed. (The stickers were starting to fall off! The humanity!)

I wanted to give up but my sense of “I need to ride a two wheel bike before older kids see me” kicked in. My young little ego kept me working toward my goal.

No surprise here, I reached my goal.

But I remember right after I started riding (like a pro) that I felt like I felt the process of riding the bike was become much more smooth. Much more practiced.

Better.

Today I feel like that a little in terms of my writing. I think some things are starting to click. (Mostly my ability to come up with a story in a short amount of time and leave things open ended so I can continue them later or have the reader fill in the blanks.)

I feel like a sponge that has been set under a faucet. The faucet is dripping slowly and the sponge is absorbing those drops. With time though, the sponge will become too full of water and some will leak out. That’s what I feel is happening. Some of the things I’ve been learning are finally leaking out into my work.

I know you can’t see all that. Not yet at least. But it’s coming.

It’s mostly because I have been having some discussions with some friends and working on stories of theirs. They will give me some of the characters and environments and I just blurt out a pretty detailed story sequence. Generally speaking they seem impressed. I can see an entire story in detail in a matter of a few minutes. Even if it’s not my own.

Now, I am still trying to figure out the best way to put these ideas onto paper in a way that’s solid. It’s not easy.

I’m not good at making words pretty. I can’t show the reader an environment how I would expect to be able to. I also can’t keep things too serious. This may work for some silly stories…but what about those deep and meaningful stories we all hope to write that will change the world one day?

For example:

A very good writer would write about a date in a way like this:

Her face was caressed by the setting sun on the horizon. The oranges and pinks mixed in with her chestnut hair and cheerful cheeks. Their eyes met with with a silent recognition. Things were just right.  After getting lost in each other’s gaze they looked out over the lake and took in what they would forever remember as “that perfect day”.

I, on the other hand, would write about a sunset like this:

The sun was red. Very red. It was setting after all. It was so pretty John almost forgot to look back at Rebecca, his blind date for the evening.  As he turned to look at her dazzling eyes he became so distracted by her sheer beauty that he failed to see the banana peel next to the garbage can on the path.

Two slipped discs and a hefty chiropractor bill later, he remembered that he hadn’t gotten her number that night.

“It could have been worse.” he thought to himself. “It could have been a pile of dog crap.”

You see? I always go for the punch line. I don’t know if I can do anything serious. Even when I’m trying to point out how I don’t use pretty language very well I still go for a joke. But I’ll keep trying. Maybe one day it’ll stick.

Until then, I’ll just keep sopping up those drops of good writing I see all around me. Maybe some of the good stuff will leak out from time to time and I’ll share it with you all.

Happy Saturday,

D.A.

As Ricky Would Say…

March 15, 2012

I got some ‘splainin’ to do.

So my short story (flash fiction) fell short of what I was hoping for. And that’s okay. It’s not good but at least I tried. I’ll get better.

It was rushed and put together poorly. Maybe I was trying to do too much in such a short space. Maybe I didn’t do enough. I’m not really sure, but I’m open to your opinion.

In my own defense I should say that this is not the story I intended to share with you yesterday. Yesterday’s story was … wow… I didn’t even know what I was thinking. So I bailed and gave you what you saw. And what you saw yesterday was just 10 times better than what you could have got.

At least I learned the wonderful skill of knowing when to bail. And I learned that it doesn’t bother you as much to throw away a shorter work than a little longer one.

Tomorrow will be a better day. Spring break begins here. A precious week of no work that I WILL waste away. But tomorrow I will post something breathtaking.

Really.

You’ll be flabbergasted.

D.A.

Been Writing a Little

March 13, 2012

Actually, it’s very little. But that’s the intention. I’m going to try my hand at a little “flash fiction”.

Why?

Well, why not? It seems like it would be a fun little exercise. Convey much with very little. That’s a concept I really enjoy. So I’m going to take my time with it and see if I can edit it into something that makes sense.

I don’t want it to be more than 300 words. And I think that’s about right.

So why don’t I go ahead a post it instead of talking about it? One simple reason. I’m very tired. I used up the last of my constructive capabilities just coming up with the tiny thing. Now, my brain (which looks more like an old prune you would find under a couch after you lost it there for a few years) is depleted. So I will edit that tiny thing tomorrow and maybe post it then.

That’s fair I think.

As a side note I should mention that I’m getting a little too regimented in how I write. When I write for you on this blog, I write in the first person. When I write a story I write in the third person. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to write a story in the first person. So I’m going to try and write this “flash fiction” in the first person.

We should always push ourselves right? Even if it is in very tiny and seemingly annoying for no reason at all.

As a matter of fact, If you have an example of excellent writing in the first person, point me toward it. I’m very interested in seeing how a master works in that medium.

Beddy Bye,

D.A.

Busy Bee

February 22, 2012

I AM BUSY BEE! (And yes, I meant that in a singular sense. As in, I am the one and only, The Mighty, Busy Bee)

Okay, I’m sort of busy. And I’m not a bee at all. (Though I do sometimes hum…which is almost like buzzing)

I have been writing…

Wow. Seems weird to write that.

I have been writing…

Yup, still strange.

Anyway, like I mentioned previously, I have begun writing what will become my first novel. The first chapter (which is where I am) is going to be all chock full of crazy little things that will, hopefully, interest my reader enough to continue. Still, I’m having concerns about the whole “first line” issue.

In my previous attempts at writing (as seen here on my little blog here) I have always tried to open up with an interesting sentence. But I feel like this is a little bit much. Like a gimmick or something. Maybe it should only be used in a short story setting?

Yes, I know I shouldn’t worry about it too much because, hey, that’s what editing is for. Knowing this, I hold the opinion that this kind of thing really shapes what the opening scene of my novel will be about. If I do a “cold” open, that could really drop the reader into an exciting place, or it could put them in a place and leave them confused. If I open with some exposition, it could be pretty boring.

Decisions, decisions…

Oh, you have an opinion to share here? Then please do so at the bottom.

And another thing.

So, you know how you read a novel and sometimes you get one of these neat little… I dunno what to call it… “bonus chapter”?

Let me explain.

You’re reading about your main character all the time. And if not, most of the time. Maybe you give your other minor characters some perspective in your story and it keeps the flow interesting. But have you ever read one of those chapters that seems to… not fit…but totally fits?

IF YOU DON”T WANT TO RUIN A COOL LITTLE PART OF THE BOOK “THAT HIDEOUS STRENGTH” THEN DO NOT READ THE NEXT PARAGRAPH!!!

:::SPOILERS!:::

Let’s look at the Ransom Trilogy for a second here…In the book “That Hideous Strength” you are always following Ransom himself or the antagonist(s). But there is one really strange exception. You get to read as the elephant/rhino/beast (it’s been a while since I’ve last read this) as it stomps and destroys everything in it’s path. It’s completely awesome and completely unnecessary. But it was this wonderful change of pace in the book.

Are things like this safe to put in a book? Are the only useful in the skilled hands of an experienced writer? Are they necessary to keep people interested in the overall plot of a book?

You tell me…

D.A.