Thursday, December 5, 2013

Free Writing 12/5/2013

Pepper your thoughts with rubbish.
That's what I do every day.
Don't listen to the gibbering masses.
They'll lead you astray anyway.

A long dither 'bout whether she blathered o'er here, thither, or home.

She cried and cried, and cried some more.
The sound was awful, I can say.
She did this because her daddy died,
And how she was never going to be okay.

So silently solemn, I soothed succinctly soliloquys searching her soul's sorrow.

But never enough, she yelled at me
Words and words, never hearing nay
Insisting on the importance of and
Reminding me the things her father would say,

"Look at you, you useless lump, a son I always wanted.
You've ruined my life, with your feminine strife,
So take these words that ne'er shall be blunted."

And with evil words spent, her mind in disrepair
Her stubborness immune to any sway,
"Tonight I'll end it all, with the point of a knife,
And sing heavenly praises most gay."

And that was the fucking end.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

My finishing strategy for my NaNo book!

So, I won NaNoWriMo last month (which, you know, was just a day ago.) And I have a NaNo novel. Only, I really don't, as I have anywhere between 40k and 60k left to write for the novel.

Now, it's easy to lose momentum after writing for all of November, so I'm going to alter my writing for the next month.

Basically, I'm going to revise my first 50k words until I'm caught up again. And then, I'm going to be very, very methodical as I finish the novel. Revise each page as I write. Revise and revise until I'm satisfied and then move on.

I probably won't be done in December, but that's okay. I rather enjoy this book, so I figure the best route here was to write with care, and do the opposite of what I did for NaNoWriMo.

Nothing against literary abandon, but I have a hefty tome on my hands, and I need to exercise some care.

Free Writing 12/1/2013

"I got nothing," he said, putting the cards down as a couple of laughs sounded across the table. He stared at the two laughing, laughing at some only half-funny joke before he cleared his throat and said, "In other words, I fold."

"Oh, sorry," Elizabeth said, looking at Ronnie's now abandoned hand. She looked at her hand and then said, "I guess I fold too." She laid her cards down, the ghost of her laughter holding strong as a leftover grin.

"Then I win!" Sam happily reached out and grabbed the stack of chips at the center of the table, though Ronnie suspected that his happiness, like Elizabeth's, was from the laughter they had been sharing. Still, he seemed to have no problem bringing the pile in front of himself. "I'm usually never this lucky."

A silence passed as suddenly both Elizabeth and Sam's lips were held in contained laughter. But, before long, they held it no more and the laughter broke out, the result of some joke that Ronnie apparently was not privy to. He looked between the two of them, wondering if there was something specific about anything anyone said that was funny, or if they just happened to be so far along in the near delirious laughs that everything spoken brought out a fit of giggles.

"I'm sorry no one else bothered to show. Kind of sucks it's just us," Ronnie said.

"No, this is great!" Elizabeth said with a big smile. She added, "This is a lot of fun." Sam didn't add anything, himself, though he nodded in solid agreement with Elizabeth.

"Good, I'm glad." Ronnie looked down at the cards that constituted his hand, all face down on the table. "Cards aren't usually my strong suit."

(This is normal Free Writing, but I think I'm actually going to continue this little story. I like the three characters, I like the implied dynamic, and I like the awkwardness. More from these three tomorrow!)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The End of NaNoWriMo 2013

All month, we've had a local group for write ins, helping encourage all involved to cross that 50k mark for NaNoWriMo.

I learned several lessons going to these write ins.

1. I'm not good at writing in public. But I love helping people write.
2. In spite of not being good at writing around people, I still wrote remarkably well in my own time and have really developed a new approach to novel writing.
3. Writing is a powerful tool for unifying people of vastly different personalities.
4. You can't deny the thrill of being able to tell a group of people that you just won.
5. I love writing. I already knew this one, but I'm thrilled that every time I write, it just feels better and better.

I'm going to miss these write ins. But, doubtless, I'll draft many of the folks I've come to know into our various projects, like film and the like.

So, here's to a great month. Sad to see it go. But glad that several new novels will be gracing the world with their existence.

Free Writing 11/30/2013

(Free writing! With typos, of course.)

Don't touch the tree
That's where he died

But who died?
What's his name?

He went by Chuck
At times Charles

Was he nice?
Did he love?

More than you know
More than I can

What happened?
Why'd he die?

Too much life lived
But heed too late

You miss him?
Does it hurt?

I admire him
Can't live the same

Given up?
Just too much?

I cannot tell
I will not know

Least he saw.


(Poetry is not my strong suit. But I enjoy sorting let the occasional transform into a specific structure of words. In this case, a fictional character named Charles is remembered for living life, but not living with any sense of caution.)

Friday, November 29, 2013

Daily Free Writing 11/29/2013

(Note from me: Just typical free writing randomness from me. Gets the creative energy going. Only now, I've decided to start posting them. For no other reason than.... I don't know. Whatever. There will be typos. And, from now on, when I post these little free writing exercises, I'll try to explain them and my inspiration after I'm done, especially for the shorter ones.)


Listen, I know my boyfriend told me not to call. I mean, he said, very specifically, that he didn't need to talk to me right now. That it was a time for family. That he needed to see to their needs before worrying about everything or anything else.

And I totally understand. His family just suffered a loss. A big one. I'm not sure how I would handle losing someone or being in that situation. But, I totally get it. He needs to be with his family. Though, I have to admit, since we haven't been talking very much in the past few weeks, I really felt like maybe he should have said more to me than, "It's okay. I'll be fine. I just need to spend time with my family."

I mean, I AM his girlfriend.

Well, not officially anymore. But I figure it's jut one of those times where we needed to be apart. You know. Space. Space is good for couples.

But he neeeeeeeds me. I know he does. He said as much. Not with his actual words, no. But because I could just tell. Through his words. In his text messages. He told me he didn't need me to come and see him. But what he really means is that I should go and see him.

That's what he needs. He needs me right now. Needs me in his time of loss. I know he does. I know because I need him, too.

(The inspiration for this little bit of free writing was something that actually happened a number of years ago. A girl that I had once dated, then later became 'friends' with, started dating somebody completely different.

He was a pretty good guy. Stable. Smart. Very mature. This girl was the opposite of these things. She blew through money like there was no tomorrow. She was insecure and constantly rationalized everything. She said 'you know what I mean?' a lot. It got old.

Somehow, though, she landed this really great guy. Eventually, her insecurities were so bad, she broke up with him. Not because there was any drama. There wasn't. But she started perceiving that something was wrong, so she called off their relationship.

Not long after that, he suffered a terrible tragedy in his family. Naturally distraught, he was spending time with his family.

She, in her amazing glory, started IM'ing me, wondering if she should go see him, even though he repeatedly told her he didn't need her there. To this day, I wish I could have instilled in her that her even asking the question made her the worst person in the world. People had died, and she was turning the whole thing into something about her.

I was already pretty done with her at the time. But even more so after that. I don't hate is a strong enough turn.

And sorry for the shorter free writing. With free writing, I'm at the mercy of my emotional pulls.)

Finishing NaNoWriMo 2013, or "What I've Learned From Last Time"

Last year, this time, I was a touch over a week done with NaNoWriMo. I hit the 50,000 word mark with relative and quick ease, and then quickly and unceremoniously wrote the rest of the book.

I loved the experience of NaNoWriMo and winning for the first time. As for the book, I didn't love it. I didn't even really like it, though I certainly didn't hate it. I let the book just sit there. While I like some of the ideas in it, I'm not sure I wrote a book that I could muster any real passion for. I wrote it partially as a joke, mostly to make fun of Twilight and vampire fiction in general.

But, anymore, that's like kicking a dead horse. And, while many of us still mock Twilight for all of its problems, the relevance of doing so has diminished a lot. That book will probably never see the editor's eye, much less the light of day.

Heading into November, this time, I wanted to approach with a subject that I would stay passionate about. About a week before NaNo began, I completely abandoned that and decided to base the book around a woman I know in real life, who angered me. You see, this woman is into her 40's, but still acts like a high school student. She is manipulative, insecure, says bad things about people behind her back, and butts into business that is not her own.

I created a character that was loosely inspired by this woman. I should have known that it would lead to problems.

The first three days of November also coincided with the National Film Challenge. So, day one, before we got the info we needed to make our short film, I pumped out as many words as I possibly could. It was a decent enough start.

After the film challenge, I put all my focus on the book. Tentatively titled "The Tastemaker", I hit 16,000 words after a week, and felt like I was in cruise control. But then, I hit a wall. Not the dreaded Week 2 wall that so many run into during NaNoWriMo.

This was a wall of apathy, but I ran into it far earlier than I did with the vampire novel. At least with the vampire novel, I could keep writing based on injecting action scenes whenever things slowed down.

But with "Tastemaker", a light-hearted and sweet rom-com type story, I was out of my element. My stories are usually bleak, dark, and filled with bad things happening to already damaged people. "Tastemaker" was about two people trying to find love against the machinations of a nosy shrew. Simple. Not bleak. Was actually kind of sweet.

Not something I generally write.

So, at 16k words in, I had a decision to make. Continue writing a story that was rapidly degenerating into a petty reflection of my feelings towards a real life individual, or cut my losses and try to catch up with a different?

Many people told me to keep the word count from the previous story. Just add it to whatever new novel I started.

I couldn't do that. If I was going to start over, I was going to really start over.

And so, reaching into notes of various characters that I created in the past but have never had a story they could call home, I began writing my new novel. And instead of hitting the ground running and burning through word count and material quickly and viciously, I kept a far steadier pace.

Last year was about power writing. This year was about methodical, even-handed writing where I made consciously important decisions for the book before writing. Through all of that, even with being a week behind, I managed to win NaNoWriMo. What's more, the book has a lot of material still left to cover. All I can say about that is that I'm in love with the book more than I ever could be with Tastemaker or the vampire story.

And I think I'm becoming a writer who prefers method to speed. Even with my slower approach, I was pumping out 2,000 words a day, on average, with many days coming in far more. But every word felt better. Every sentence was far more lovingly crafted than either of the other two books. Yes, I will still need to do revisions on this novel, but everything was so much better and so much more thought out.

I think this will be my new writing style. Even where I found problems in the narrative, I was finding them while writing, as opposed to figuring it out after. I immediately knew, being so in touch with both story and character, what I would fix on my second, third, and fourth passes on the novel. It's helped me with my fear of future drafts.

This NaNoWriMo was far better than last year's. Not only did I still finish when I had to start over, but I also found myself passionate about this project.

Another lesson here; for the sake of the legal system and your sanity, only ever take traits from people in your life when writing. Don't try to model a fictional character after a real person with the intent of writing revenge fiction. It's unsatisfying and ultimately petty. And is a quick way to ruin your story.

To those who hate NaNoWriMo and the people who participate....

I have found that the people who hate NaNoWriMo are petty, little people who are struggling with jealousy in the worst way.

Now, I'm not talking about people who have no interest in NaNoWriMo or don't think it will fit their writing style. Those individuals generally don't insult the people who do like NaNoWriMo. They have simply come to the conclusion that it is not for them. Perfectly fine. Perfectly rational.

But for those who argue the event is a waste of time, or that it's some sort of vanity project, or that it's stupid, the consistent trait among those hateful persons is that they are jealous.

Why be jealous? Is it because you don't think you can do it?

Well, I have an idea. Next year, in November, let me know. And we'll accept you with wide open arms. To do what? To write. Why not try it?

You'll be surprised that you will have something to say in the world of writing. That you will be able to write a novel. And, when the end of the month rolls around, whether you have written 50k words or maybe even less, you'll have found that NaNoWriMo has been something you never expected it to be; an important part of your life.

Kevin Smith talked about how the world was filled with "Why?" and that you need to surround yourself with people who will say, "Why not?"

If you find yourself questioning why someone would do NaNoWriMo, it's time to take a step back and really ask yourself why you're not supporting this or the person. Is it personal bias? Do you really support the arts?

Instead of, "Why are you doing NaNoWriMo? That's stupid." it should be "Why not give it a go?"

I'll be the one asking, "Why not?" at every turn, even if you've called me stupid for my love of National Novel Writing Month.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Anger is a funny thing

I don't know what drove me to be so annoyed at everything today. I hate that. A bunch of little things, I guess. I'm not seeing my kids these holidays. Nothing for it, unfortunately. Money is tight and you have to do what you have to do.

So, I'm not really mad about that. Just sad. I miss my kids.

Had a long conversation, online, with an old friend. And something about his insecurities just annoyed me. This has been part of a long trend of getting annoyed way too easily by people. I don't want to be that person. And it's not everyone who is annoying. Just select people.

In one case, I feel bad because this poor person is really enthusiastic. Does not deserve my ire one bit. So, in that situation, I simply ignore this individual.

Another person who has been bothering me is someone that I, blissfully, don't have to spend any time with. This person is belittling friends of mine, going on about how stupid NaNoWriMo is (a few of my friends, my girlfriend, and I are all involved in NaNo), and is generally obnoxious with their opinions. (If you've noticed that I've not been using pronouns, this is on purpose. Save for my old friend, but he'll never read this crap anyway.)

I don't know. I don't want to feel this anger. Between cursing the luck of a former friend who has done a million percent less work than my friend Nick and I have done, to wishing things could just turn around, I'm unhappy. I mean, I'm happy in the general sense. I'm not depressed. I hate people who throw that word around.

But I am unhappy. Maybe unsatisfied is a better word. I wish I could get a movie project off the ground. I wish I knew how to market my books. I wish I could figure it out. But, if it were so easy, everyone would do it.

I won't stop writing. I won't stop trying. At the very least, it's my art. And I can't ever stop.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

1k word sprint for October 2nd, 2013

(Word sprints are a way I get ready to write. I like to write a thousand words as quickly as possible. I do nothing with these little pieces of writing. They just get the mind going. They are usually incoherent messes, filled with bad grammar, poor word choice, and errors galore. But that's okay. The point is to get the brain working.)

If you have to throw up, there's a bag in front of you,” the man in the white lab coat said. He said it like he was trying to reassure me, but in reality, he sounded less reassuring and more forced. In fact, he seemed disappointed somehow, like I was his child and I had just done something really bad.
Of course, I had done something bad. And I suppose he had every right to be less than happy with me given the current situation we were in. I should have drank more water, not a liter of diet soda. I should have eaten something more than lo mein. I should really keep myself in better health in general. But as I don't tend to really think about my body or my long term future, I found myself in this situation, a needle sticking out of my arm, my mind fuzzy, and nausea embracing me with this sickly hug.

Before that day, I never donated plasma. Donate is the wrong word. Donate implies you're just giving your plasma away. And I wasn't. I was selling it. Perfectly legitimate business transaction. People need plasma. Companies like this one will buy your plasma and sell it to hospitals and the like.

You can make money. And you are helping a lovely cause. It's all great.

Unless you don't drink enough water or take care of your body. And then you find yourself in trouble.

At first, I thought the nausea that swept over me was because I might just be more afraid of needles than I would have liked to admit to myself. But then the sensation kept growing and I felt lightheaded. One of the attendants dressed in nurse's scrubs walked by and asked if I was okay.

I don't think I spoke. I don't remember saying anything. But I did shake my head in the negative, and before I knew it, I was surrounded by two other people in scrubs and the aforementioned man in the white lab coat, with his very serious expression, one that could make anyone feel like they've let their father down.
Funny thing is I was already good at letting my father down. So I've seen that look a million times before. When I wrecked my car having only just had it for three days. The look. Getting kicked out of college after my father made a huge donation to the school to help ensure my successful acceptance into said school. The look. The time I committed tax fraud. The look.

Now, you might be questioning my integrity as a human being. Fair enough. I'm not the greatest of guys. I'll admit to that right up front. But I'm still a human being, yeah? I have needs. I have wants and desires. I have to eat. I have to sleep. I have to piss.

All that stuff.

And it's not like I ever killed anyone. Well, before that day. But we'll get to that later. Reality is, this run in with the plasma donation place was just the beginning to what would be a long and ultimately painful, unhappy day.

I mean, some good came of all of this. Some. I think. I hope. But again, there's so much to get to. And I'm not used to telling people stories. In spite of everything, I'm still a pretty shy person. Been that way my whole life.

I don't know what it is, really. My dad. He ain't shy. The man can talk to anyone and convince them of anything. He doesn't pull punches either, my dad. He coulda called Richard Nixon that he was, in fact, a crook, right to ol' Tricky Dick's face. And Nixon would just embrace my father and thank him for his consideration.
Because my dad is the kind of person with a power that very few people have. It's a kind of people power. I think in times where countries gathered up real big armies and invaded other countries, built empires and shit like that, my dad would have been the guy leading the army.

He was like Napoleon, you know? Or all those other guys. I don't know all their names, because I didn't pay real good attention in school. Sort of jerked off most of the time. But you probably figured that when I said I got kicked out of the college that my father pushed to get me into.

Fact is, I'm nothing like my old man. He has direction in his life. Me, I can't get even get pricked with a fucking needle without my body turning to shit.
“Sir. If you feel the need to vomit, the bag is right in front of you,” the doctor guy said again. I don't know if he was a doctor. I don't really know how these places work. I just know that when I looked at my chest, there was a bag laying on it.

I was on my back, see, hooked up to this machine. They said something, when they first pricked me and started pulling out my blood, something to do with my blood going in this bowl inside the machine, and the machine spinning it so fast that it made the plasma stuff pull apart from the blood cells. Or something like that. I don't know. It's all Greek, as they say.

Well, suddenly, once I wasn't doing so well, we had one of the nurse-looking people clamping these plastic, vice things on the tube that was coming out of me, and getting ready to pull the needle out.

Another was holding the bag up to my mouth in case I spewed. And there were probably other things going on too, but my memory is a little fuzzy on the whole deal.

Last time I try to give plasma. It seemed promising. I need the money. What with my father cutting me off and all.

Seriously. For the first time in my life, on that lovely little day, I had nowhere to fall back on. No job possibilities, no skills or talents, nothing I could use. I wasn't good at anything. I couldn't talk to people very well. Something my father taught me when I was growing up was that people who weren't good at many things but had excellent speaking and communication skills could always compensate for a lack of ability, or education, or even connections, connections being the thing that my father always said were the most important.
Being able to talk your way out of anything was why politicians were the way they were, and why they were in charge.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Serial Novel - Prologue

The creak of the rocking chair didn't bother Gwen Holcomb anymore. As she sat on the couch, she ignored the sound and stared at but not really reading the book in her hands. The chair had been making that awful sound on its own for the past forty years. No sense in getting nervous about it now.
But tonight was different in many ways. Gwen knew this. Gwen dreaded this.
Still, she put any creeping, horrible thoughts out of her mind and tried to focus on something outside of her internal fears and the external ambiance of the evening. The atmosphere almost felt afraid. The air quivered with the nervous anticipation that something was coming. Something terrible.
Gwen cleared her mind, doing everything she could to think of nothing. Nothing at all. Because only nothing could keep her from dreading the horror that was inexorably marching toward her. Such a quiet evening to be pondering such horrible ideas.
Gwen looked up from her book to the window across the living room, thinking she might have heard a noise from that direction. After several minutes of staring at the window, however, the only noise in the room was the constant creak of the rocking chair, which was still moving on its own. She returned to the book, still not having read a word of it, and realized she was holding her breath.
She exhaled, but almost as though it were a premonitory response to her sudden relief, the room instantly fell to an awful chill, her escaping breath misting, dissipating visibly as it left her lips.
“I'm not ready,” Gwen pleaded. As though it was giving an angry reply, the room began to shake, old pictures on the wall began to vibrate, and the air grew from chilled menace to a threatening and frightening aura.
“You have no choice,” an unhappily familiar voice announced. “You've run out of time.”
Gwen closed her eyes, for she knew who would be arriving shortly. Knew what would be arriving.

Serial Novel - The Why

Why am I writing a free serial novel?

Because I want to. That's really the only answer. I have a story idea, I like it, I've outlined it, and I'd like to present it to everyone. And I thought it would be fun to present the novel in much the same way as Dickens did in days long gone; as a serial.

Originally, I thought I'd release it as a daily thing, since I'm a few days ahead on the story, but I realized there's something about doing it daily that isn't conducive to the narrative flow of this story. So, I changed my mind to releasing larger quantities weekly. I think this will give for a more satisfying story flow, and will give the audience a chance to spend a little longer with the characters, should they so choose. Except this week, where you will get the Prologue and Chapter One today, and more on Friday. But after this first week, once a week!

The weekly release will also help me with the entire revision thing. That said, I'm sure I will make mistakes. I'm doing this without an editor, and I can only catch so much. Please, dear readers, feel free to point out oddities, errors, and all that fun stuff as you read. I would appreciate it.

At the end of all of this I will release it as a whole, still free, for everyone to download for their reading pleasure.

Now I am doing this for free, but, if you feel like supporting this and other creative endeavors of mine, I will have a donation button to the right side of the screen and one down below. It's not something I expect anyone to do, nor am I going to be upset if no one donates. I'll be writing this book no matter what. And it will be free no matter what. So please, enjoy it as it is released and I thank you all for taking a chance with it!

Chapter One
Chapter Two (coming soon)
Chapter Three (coming soon)
Chapter Four (coming soon)
Chapter Five (coming soon)