Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Comings and Goings of Muses and Merriment

By most accounts I would say that this week has been a good week, even despite my allergies taking a turn for the worse.  I've been in a good mood, work has been relatively slow, people haven't been as irritating as they usually are.  And I even started off the week, Monday and Tuesday, churning out a good amount of words.  In fact, here in a minute I'll be sharing my first "excerpt" for your thoughts.  Exclusively, mind you.  Yes, that's right, you'll all be the first to read the words I'm going to reveal.  I expect a collective "Woo hoo" to reach me at some point today.  Anyway, back on point, the reason I'm saying this is because I found my Muse just wasn't into it yesterday.  And I know, I know I should force myself to write anyway, but when I do that I feel like the result is work that I have to go back and rewrite later anyway.  And maybe that is how it's supposed to work, I don't know, but I really feel like I'm doing a pretty good job of writing a lot.  I mean, I know 22k words in just under a month is no miraculous event worth celebrating, but for someone working a full time job, I think it's decent.

My goal, though I don't think I've mentioned it, is to be done by Comic-Con.  I'm not currently on pace to meet that goal, maybe I will, maybe I won't, but even if I don't I think that I'm writing fast enough that I shouldn't beat myself up for missing a day here or there.  Should I try and beat my muse into action for a personal deadline that was never hugely realistic?  Is there such a thing as abusing the muse?  If I force it, will that just work out for me, or could I be doing more damage than good?  These are the questions that flood my thoughts any day that I simply am not feeling it.  Is it possible, do you think, that asking the questions is a part of the problem? Haha...  oh Ian.  You are such a twisted over-thinker.  I will say that I'm in a good place, in terms of the actual plot, and am enjoying what I'm writing, even if it sucks.  Oh, which reminds me.

Chapter 3 Update from my best friend and brother Jamie, who is the only person reading the book as I go.  I extended the offer to Frank, my artist who I've commissioned through guilt to create my book cover for when I ultimately decide to self-publish, but he did not accept.  What a jerk.   Anyway, Jamie says 3 was boring.  He claims is was because he read it like it was a stand alone story, since he got to read the Prologue and the first two chapters all together.  I read books one chapter at a time, all the time, so I think that is probably a bad sign, but alas...  what can I do?  If I spend my time thinking about what I've written, I'll never write anything new.    As long as Jamie doesn't tell me that something completely sucks, I'm going to keep moving forward and hope that I can fix the rest in edits.

With that said, I mentioned an excerpt and I'm a man who makes good on his word.  From Chapter 5:

Brandon looked to Diella.  She was eyeing the lowest branches, which were easily fifteen feet above them. “Are we going to stay here for the night?”

“Up there,” she replied with unwavering certainty. He noticed when he was following her before that she carried a bag on her back, but it didn’t look large enough to hold rope. Before he could ask her how she thought they would manage such a climb, she broke into a run toward the tree. Without slowing she jumped up onto the roots, then lunged toward the trunk. Her boots hit the tree’s thin bark five feet above, still moving as if they were on level ground. After two long strides Diella leapt again, this time up and away from the arborous giant. She seemed to float as she spun in mid air and grabbed hold of a thick branch, swinging with her momentum like an acrobat in one fluid motion. A moment later her hands relinquished their grip and she flipped skyward, landing firmly on a separate branch above Brandon’s head. He stood speechless, looking toward the canopy above with his jaw hanging wide open. Never in his life, not even in the virtual world of the games, had he witnessed such a feat. Diella moved in ways he did not think possible.

“I can’t do that,” he said evenly while his eyes retraced the woman’s path. When they reached the spot where she landed, Diella was nowhere to be seen.

“I do not expect you to..”
I know, I know... pretty short, not amazing writing but the image was what I liked.  I always say this to everyone I know, I'm not a great writer but I do fancy myself a pretty damn good idea person.  In my mind, the image of a character scaling a huge  tree like an acrobat is pretty cool.  But hey, that's just me.

Anyway, that is all for this installment.  I hope everyone is having a killer week, and until next time...

Dream Big,

Monday, April 18, 2011

Rewrites and 20 Thousand Words

It happened.  I was struggling and I was attributing it to not feeling well and having a crappy week... and maybe those things played into it, but the bottom line is, Mark Waid was right.  Yes, Mark Waid.  Some of you may know him as a Comic Book Writer who is most famous for his work in Superman comics over the past decade.  I know him from a seminar he gave at WizardCon back in 2005.  2004?  2005?   I can't remember which.  Anyway, he spoke on the topic of Writer's Block and how he believed it was an issue of trying to take a character in the wrong direction.  Until now, I never really understood how right he was.  Don't get me wrong, I've quoted him on the subject a dozen times since then, but never actually experienced it before.

I hit a point in the book where I had my characters doing something, and suddenly it felt like it was dragging and felt so BLAAAAHHHHH, and in my head I blamed my writing, but yesterday I was sitting at home, thinking about the book, and it occurred to me.  I wasn't listening to my characters.  I was trying to usher them toward my plot ideas without any real considerations of the hows and the whys.  So I deleted a couple thousand words and rewrote a good chunk of the third chapter. 

Well, after that things were easy again.  Writing felt good.  I finished chapter three, I wrote chapter four, which was pretty short, and a good ways into chapter five.  I cracked 20k words a little more than a week after I planned to, but I feel really good about it.  I finally got to where I was really wanting to go, and this week is going to be super slow at work so I foresee taking some major strides in the next five days.  Wish me luck!  until next time...

Dream Big,

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Long Week and a Prologue

Be it a stomach bug, door closing on my fingers, an exceptionally busy and draining work week, or getting locked out of my apartment at five am this morning, this week has been filled with delightful treats that take pleasure in muting the muse as I call it.  But now that I've gotten all of the whining out of the way...

I really haven't written much this week, and while there are those contributing factors, the truth is I feel like I've hit a point already where it's kind of getting BLAH.  I mean, I was writing, and I liked it, and I thought it was good (can't get confirmation because my friend who is reading it is in fact not reading it due to computer problems, SUPPOSEDLY) but then I hit a point where I feel like I'm just filling space to get to the next round of good stuff.  And my problem is, writing a story makes it feel like it's much longer than it would be reading it, so I can't tell if it's dragging because of that, or if it's really because it sucks.  So the wind has sort of been taken out of my sails for the moment, and I'm having a tough time rebounding with everything else coming down on me at the same time.

How do writer's do it?  I mean, not the rich ones who write full time, mind you.  If this was my life, I feel like it would be way easier, and if I had a problem I would have plenty of time to brainstorm a way to fix it.  With nothing else to drain your creative energy from you, I feel like it would be fairly easy (no offense to full time writers who feel like writing is hard).  If anyone knows any writers who also work full time who have a solution to these problems, let me know.  Because I'll pay heartily for such wisdom!

Now, let's shake off the negativity for a minute, because goodness knows I didn't start this whole thingamajigger so I could come on and bitch all the time.  People who know me in person know that I looooooove to whine and complain (that's sarcasm, but they would most likely confirm it, much to my chagrin), but that's not what I'm doing this for.  Anyway, good job shaking off the negativity, eh?

Okay, negativity officially shaken off!  So the other reason for this update is to let you guys know that I posted my Unedited Prologue on this morning.  Here is the link.  I read through it and made a few tweeks here and there, but it's still not complete and may have some grammatical problems.  I'm not really looking for any minor editing critiques or anything, but basic stuff like...  Did you like it?  Did it seem like it was novel-worthy?  Did it suck?  Was it confusing?  So in those regards, I'm open to any feedback you guys might have.  There might be spacing issues that won't exist in the book because I'm writing the book in Word, double spaced and properly indented, but pasting it over it all mushed together.  So if I missed a paragraph break, I apologize!  Thanks again for all of your support guys, and until next time...

Dream Big,

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Title and the Blog... but not for the Blog. Blog.

I didn't have any plans to make a Blog post today.  Once a week, I told myself, would be all I would be able to manage.  I've never Blogged before, I figured it would be difficult; something I'd have to force.  Then it happened.  I was laying in my bed--Lying?  Laying?  Already I'm giving away my grammatical weaknesses!!  Anyway, so I was in bed trying to fall asleep, since it was well past my bed time (Yes, I have a bed time, I'm an old man who has to be at work by 6am), and I couldn't get it out of my head: what was I going to name my book?  The concept has always fallen under the name "Dream Quest."  There is another book series with a similar name, also a Porn and a Heavy Metal Band... so I figured I would be best off going with something else as the title, and then having it be Book 1 of the Dream Quest Series or Saga (a little too Twilighty for my taste) or whatever.  And this was a great idea, in my mind, until I was trying to sleep and couldn't stop wondering what I would actually title the book.

And what's worse...  I can't ask you guys (that's me making myself feel better, as though there are actually other people reading this) because you don't know anything about the book... but trust me when I say, there really isn't anything great to go with.  Now, this may be a bit absurd, but I've decided to title the second book "Golden Sun."  And that is actually a great title for it.  I came up with it while I was trying to think up titles for the first book, and decided it was horrible for the first one, but pretty perfect for number two.  Back to the topic at hand, though, what do you guys think about just using the title "Dream Quest" for the first book?  Sort of how the Hunger Games Series was started with The Hunger Games?  I would desperately appreciate comments you might want to leave giving your opinions on this subject.

I'd also like to touch on the Blog skin I'm using for a moment.  First off, I want to say that on my screen at work, it's Orange.  As an orange skin, I really like the skin.  Orange is a color I associate with Dream Quest.  I got on my laptop at home last night, and it was pink.  Do you guys see pink or orange?  I'm a dude, and I actually don't mind pink, but I really don't want to have a pink blog.  So if you guys see pink, by all means let me know.

I think that's about it.  I feel like my Blog posts are too short, but at the same time I don't want to overwhelm people with... well, with Me.  I love me some me, but I know I'm not a flavor for everyone's palate.  So as a final request, mention in any comment you might want to leave if you'd like less or more.  You can't hurt my feelings, so have at it.  Until next time...

Dream Big,

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The First Installment

If you haven't noticed yet, I'm all about using clever titles with duel meanings.  I figured, of all the possible first things to know about me, that would probably be the most impressive.  In related news, I almost just typed "Winning!"  Damn you Charlie Sheen.

But alas, I've only just begun and already I digress.  My name is Ian, and though I have little to show for it, I am a writer.  Well, how can you be a writer if you have nothing to show for it, you may ask?  You are what you eat.  Or, you are what your heart says you are.  Either answer should suffice.  Seriously though, I've never felt that I was a very good writer, but I have always said that I've got outstanding ideas and since you can't sell ideas (maybe you can, I've never actually tried) I decided I was going to write my ideas into a book.  A Fantasy and Science Fiction Novel.  I'm 28 years old.  I have accomplished nothing of value outside of securing a position at a crappy job.  I don't want to turn 30 and have to face the second phase of my life with nothing to show for the first.

So here we are, you and I.  And this is my Blog.  This is my first Blog, in fact, so I'd like to ask for all levels of forgiveness if I'm a poor Blogger to start out.  In fact, I'm almost certain that this first Blogstallment has been a complete catastrophe to this point, but I would like to right the ship, so why don't I talk about my book.

The First Installment of the Dream Quest Series/Saga/Chronicles follows our main character, Brandon King, a teenage boy who lives in a hyper-modern, futuristic city called New Athens.  He is the cocky, self-involved captain of his school's Virtual Gaming Team who has a future filled with options and possibilities laid out before him.  Wealthy, intelligent, handsome; life is perfect for Brandon... until it happens.  The DSE, a device designed to enhance the sleep experience, seems to malfunction.  When Brandon lays down for a peaceful night of sleep, he wakes up in a world unlike any he has ever seen.  Elves and Men, War and Magic... our ego-driven teen finds himself trapped in a Land where overconfidence can get you killed. 

Is any of it real, or is it all just a broken dream?  His search for answers may only lead to more questions, but are they questions he should have been asking all along?  Follow Brandon as he journeys through the unknown to reveal a truth that will change everything.  Join him on his Dream Quest.

Yes, it got very "advertisementy" there at the end.  But you get the idea.  It's not easy to explain a plot without revealing the nifty twists and turns that make it interesting.  Well, I think it's interesting anyway.  As it stands now, I'm only about 40 pages into the novel, a Prologue and two chapters.  My ultimate goal is to have a finished product by Comic-Con in July, so I'll be making a hard push over the next few months.  As far as this Blog goes, it will be my goal to update at least once a week, perhaps with an excerpt here or there of anything I'm particularly proud of.  I'll be updating words counts, and sharing my thoughts on life as a writer who also works a full-time job.  So please, follow along.  I'll try not to be too boring, and maybe if you're a writer yourself, my lack of talent will motivate you to write something of your own. 

This is my Novel Quest. Thanks in advance for your support.

Dream Big,