Saturday, January 29, 2011

Clyde King and Stephen King

Well, that was fast.  Clyde King is done.  I deliberately tried to make it short and short it was.  After the first writing, it came in at just over two thousand words but I really enjoy it for what it is.  Clyde is the opposite of Ark, there isn't a city in sight, and nobody has any super vampire powers.  It's lovely.

This raises a new question for me obviously: Now what the hell am I supposed to do?  I'm going to rip through these twenty-or-so ideas that are written down in no time if I don't turn one into another book.  I'd really like to move forward in getting things in print so maybe that will eat up some time eventually.  Employment will probably cut into my writing time in the near future as well (hopefully).

On a side note, I finished Stephen King's On Writing last night and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The first half is about his childhood and the steps he took to becoming the nutjob that he is today.  I wish I had started seriously doing this sooner like he did.  He sold his stories to classmates in middle school, sent in short stories for publication during high school and had his first novel published before he was my age.  I know that it's stupid to compare my experiences with one of today's most prolific writers, but it's hard not to when everything in your life is one big regret anyway.  I'll just staple "not trying hard enough to write" to the bottom of the list.

As I admitted to someone during my time reading, I'm a little scared by what he wrote.  Mere minutes after having written the post And Now For Something Completely Different, I read a suggestion from the book as to what to do once you complete a your writing.  Let's see if I can find it.  Ah, here it is:
"My advice is... go to work on something else.  Something shorter, preferably, and something that's a complete change of direction and pace from your newly finished book."
You don't say?  There's also a piece in there where he mentions that when he writes he comes up with an idea, sits at a word processor, and then writes down what he sees happen in the movie projector in his mind.  Sometimes it goes where he anticipated and sometimes it doesn't, much like being at the movies.  It creeps me out because I think I may have described this word for word to a significant other of mine at one point. months or years ago.  Maybe it's normal for writers to work that; I almost hope so.  I'm not sure I want to have the same issues going on in my head that King has.  Sure he's successful, but I think he'd be the first to admit he's a little crazy.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

And Now For Something Completely Different

Since I seem to have found a stride in my writing habits recently, I thought it would be wise of me not to take too much downtime.  So, I've chosen Clyde King as my next project.  It's a short story set in an alternate western backdrop.  Actually, it's set in the world of another novel that I haven't written yet (XII).

I'm finding it simultaneously liberating and confining as I begin to delve into it.  It's great to jump out of the grays and browns of a post-apocalyptic cityscape and to leave the vampires behind (for a time).  However, I'm now deliberately trying to write a publish-worthy short story and that means word count limits.  A puzzle has formed in my head because I know basically what is supposed to happen, I just don't know how to make it fit in a few thousand words and still make it sound pleasant.  I'm having fun trying something new, though.

I wrote my first short story in one night a while back and it was more of an exercise than anything else.  There was no dialogue, there were no named characters, and there was no start and not really an ending to speak of either.  That piece turned out to be two thousand(ish) words, even with the limits I had placed on it.  I've just written over seven hundred for Clyde King without trying and I don't think I can get it all in before I hit 3K.  Time will tell.

Sans Being Butchered By a Real Editor...

Yet another stand-in cover
Blood Testament - The Seventh Horn is complete!  It's short having been originally written for National Novel Writing Month and it might not be very good - but its done!  Here are a few extra details about the book.

Local Interest: The entirety of this book is based in (the ruins of) Philadelphia. It walks, jogs, and runs its way from Washington Square Park to the University of Pennsylvania to a special little locale down on Columbus Boulevard.

Pitch: Ark awoke with powers he didn't ask for, surrounded on all sides by people who despise him for who he is. It certainly hasn't changed their feelings about him now that he's dead. He was always a bit of a loner and always a bit of a chauvinistic coward, but people no longer want to avoid him - they want him dead. On the other hand, the dead seem to understand his thirst for power and offer him a place in their community of psychopaths and murderers. Only one person is keeping his untapped powers from destroying the world and she seems to think that he happens to be a messenger from God. Will it be salvation that Ark chooses or will the dark embrace prove too strong to resist?

Anecdotes: I devised the idea for this book as an afterthought for its prequel Blood Testament - The Harbinger.  This book talks about what happens centuries after the events that happen in that tale.  I attribute the general premise of this series to having watched too many episodes of Supernatural with my significant other.  Since this was a rushed book (having had to write it in thirty days) and it being my first one, I didn't mind so much if it was a goofy story about an anti-hero vampire who swears a lot.  The funny thing is - I'm told that your first works as a writer are almost always autobiographical in some manner.  Now having gone back and read what flew out of my fingers in that month-long debacle of writing, I have to say that I believe it must be true.  At any rate, The plan is for this series to span a total of three books, culminating in the finale Blood Testament - The Charred.  It might actually happen, who knows?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Glad I Thought of It!

I find it funny when people absolutely have to see themselves as independent.  Nobody can tell them what to do.  If they decide to do something, its their decision to do so no matter what anybody says.  They may in fact do the opposite of what is suggested to them just to spite that person.

It's like those cartoons where the sidekick makes a suggestion for a plan and the boss smacks the him and tells them that they're stupid.  Moments later the boss man will exclaim, "I just had a great idea, Mugsy!"  The boss then recounts the exact plan that was just stated by the underling to great comedic fanfare.  Cartoon from the forties?  Funny!  Real life?  Not so much.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Seventh Horn - Excerpt 4

    This portion of Market Street that extended beyond City Hall to the east was not as torn up and broken down as other parts of the former great city.  In its day, the area had received its fair share of traffic from vehicles and pedestrians alike.  In the dark days, not many people had reason to venture these old streets.  The large skyscrapers dwindled down and most buildings were not but merely a few stories in height.  Some antiquated light posts even still remained standing upright in their original positions.  With a fair share of imagination, one might be able to envision the hustle and bustle that had once taken place along the road.
    “Hey Ark?”
    “Yeah?”
    “Did you ever sit and pretend like all this never happened?  Wonder what it might be like if it wasn’t like this?  I mean look at it all.  It must have been pretty amazing once.  You could just walk the streets without fear of being attacked by a monster.  The air was pure and the sky was so clear back then.  Their lives were so easy.  Sometimes I wish it was still like that.  I wish I could’ve lived like that.”
    “I pity them.”
    Charlie was astonished.  “How?  How could you pity people who lived in such a wonderful place?  In such a wonderful world?”
    “What did their lives mean, though?  What did they do with all that luxurious peace?  It was all wasted.  It all meant nothing.”
    “That has to be the worst thing I’ve ever heard anyone say!  Without them and the people before them – where we would be now?”
    “And maybe that is exactly what I mean.”
    “You’re blaming them for the way the world is?  All this just happened to them, I doubt they planned to change the world from the way it was to,” Charlie’s arms raised in a V, “this.”
    “One way or another, it would have to be their fault.  Either they wasted this place and destroyed it on their own or your oh-so holy God got so pissed off at their bullshit, that he just laid waste to the whole damned thing.  Either way, it’s their fault.”
    “You’re really depressing.  Even for a depressing place like this, you’re depressing.”
    “I’m a realist.  I’m sorry if that’s depressing.”
    They didn’t speak to each other for a little while after that.  Charlie was visibly downed by his inability to fathom a world that she would want to restore and Ark really simply didn’t care.  They strolled rather peacefully and quietly down Market Street, passed the old shops and centers of commerce.  It was almost like a time capsule that had simply been painted over in the omnipresent earth tones.  Charlie seemed to pass by in wonder while Ark passed by in his contempt.

Missing In Action

Picture completely irrelevant.  I just enjoy C&H.
I know that there isn't really a significant amount of people who read this, and these posts are mostly for my own practice/sanity, but i feel bad for not having kept up on it recently.  I spent all of November writing like a maniac, December was filled with the wonderful world of retail during the holidays, and January has just plain sucked.  I'm now unemployed, single, and I've been sick for the past week or so.  It has been truly miserable.

I've been trying to get back to The Seventh Horn to finish that up and get it ready for publication in one form or another.  Have to tie up loose ends and edit what I can.  Thankfully (and hopefully she sticks with me) I've found someone who may be willing to do some cover art photography for the books in the future.  That makes me feel a little bit better.  I get some motivation out of making my writing feel a bit more real and not just something stupid I'm doing to waste time.  Don't get me wrong.  I love writing and allowing the filmstrip of words to play out in my head is great.  But its easier to procrastinate and be self-defeating without constant reminders that this isn't necessarily the stupidest thing I've ever done.  I've got a lot of those; I don't need any more.

Making it 'real' is something that is important to me.  I get that from how I've explained to other why I went into the fields of study that I did.  I went into building design because I'm a math/logic person coupled with an art/creative person and voila! - architecture.  The best part of the job was envisioning something and making it a reality.  It was like living art (until outside sources typically destroy the vision).  The biggest problem that I had with architecture was the same fault i found in following my father's footsteps into engineering.  If you delve into that line of work, you leave little time for your personal/family time.  As great as the pay might be sometime, I don't want to sacrifice time spent with my children to acquire it.  So as much as I might have enjoyed architecture, in the long run it just wasn't for me.

I then moved to Florida and began to go to college for elementary education.  I think children are awesome and it saddens me to see the not-so-gradual and oh-so-evident decline of society.  What better way to help shape the future and make a visible change in a child's life that may one day change the world?  I had the same type of expectations for the field of education that I did for architecture.  Working to create a visible change.  I know that I had teachers who did that for me, its only fair that I try to pay it forward (thanks to Mr. Washburn for making a literary impact on my life, wherever he may be).  The only thing is - have you seen the education system recently?  Its almost impossible for someone such as myself to make headway in an environment such as that.  It is a world that is coming close to impeding a child's learning as much as it aids it.

So I turn to degree in English.  I have high hopes for this field because it allows for so many possibilities.  My initial hopes are to teach high school and to write in some manner on the side.  Whether the writing consists of newspapers, websites or novels, I want to to write because it has always been the one thing that I have inherently succeeded in and actually enjoyed.  It also fulfills that drive to create.  To work and make and create for you and those around you to enjoy is one of the best goals that a person can strive for.

I have no idea what I began writing about and I'm quite sure that this has been completely uninformative in regards to my initial idea - if there was one.  That's kinda how I write anyway.