Saturday, December 31, 2011

Trying To Find My Way At The End Of The Year

I've been thinking about the novel and the reasons why I haven't been able to work on it.  I think I've figured out what the problem is,

There's a point in the story when Brynna's husband, Georges, is kidnapped by the Hunters.  Up to that point, the novel is just fine.  After that, it began to seem like Brynna became a "guest star" in her own novel.  It seems like I was becoming sidetracked by Kath and Marina, Eckes and his team, as well as various other characters.  I wasn't telling Brynna's story, I was telling the story of the people around her.

So it's time to take a few steps back and get the story back on track.

Of course, that means going through five full chapters.  But it will help me get the novel going again, get it back to the life of my main character and hopefully, in the long run, will help me finish the novel.

'Cause that's my only resolution:  To finish the novel in 2012.

At least, before the world end on 21 December, 2012, that is.

(No, I don't believe the world is going to end on 12/21/12.  Nothing is going to happen on that day.  Collectively, we're all going to wake up and say, "What day is it?  It's Friday?  Is it payday?")

(The day I'm really waiting for is 22 December, 2012.  That's the day all the excuses start and all the true believers start trying to explain why nothing happened on the twenty-first.)

Monday, December 19, 2011

19 December 2011: "A Voice in the Darkness" Final Progress

I've finished "A Voice in the Darkness".  The end's going to need some work, but that'll be for editing, a couple of weeks from now.  For now, though, I'm basking in the sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing a story.

The first draft turned out to be a little longer than I had at first thought, just shy of thirteen thousand words as 12,935.  That'll most likely go down when I start editing; I did get a little wordy in a few places.

To commemorate completing the story, I took a picture of the last hand written page of the story:






And yes, that's true...the stories of Mandalay Jones and Mira Frayne are not finished...

Now...what do I want to work on next...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

08 December 2011: "A Voice in the Darkness" Progress

After a long and annoying dry spell, I've made a lot of headway into "A Voice in the Darkness".  Being able to write while at work has been a big plus.  (Hey, if other people can read or do crossword puzzles between calls, I can write.  It's better than sitting there staring into space, waiting for a call to come in.)

As of right now, "A Voice in the Darkness" is 9,890 words in length.  And I'm feeling real good about those words.

It shouldn't be long before I complete this story.  I have a pretty clear idea what happens between now and the end, so I should be able to get it done relatively quickly.

After that, I'm going to concentrate on the novel and getting some of the other, shorter projects completed.  There are a lot that have been left hanging that I'd like to finish so they can be rejected by traditional publications.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

11/13/11: "The Fault Lies Not..." Progress

After nearly a month of being distracted by the training I was taking for my new job, I've finally made some real progress on at least one of the projects.  With luck, now that training is over, I'll be able to make some regular progress on the other projects as well.  The novel's been sitting for too long...

Anyway...

As of today, "The Fault Lies Not..." is at 10,677 words.  I don't know if I'll be able to bring it in under 20,000 words but I'm going to try.

Of course, I march Lin and a squad of cops right up to the front door of the apartment their perp is using as a home base...then Lin stops talking to me.  I sigh deeply.  I think I hear Mandalay's voice.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ummm...oops...

I've figured out why I'm having so much trouble with the novel.

There's a fair number of characters in the story, aside from just Brynna, Georges, Scott and Lily.  There's the staff and residents of the coven, Special Agent Eckes and his team, Kath and Marina...that's a lot of people.  And in trying to juggle all those people, it feels like I've lost track of the main character.  This was supposed to be Brynna's story and I seem to be spending less time with Brynna than I am with the other characters.  When I turn my attention to the novel, I find myself thinking about Kath and Marina rather than Brynna.  It's starting to seem like Brynna's a guest star in her own novel.

So I have some work to do.  I have to drag the story back to Brynna and away from the others.  I do have plans for all those characters; Kath and Marina have their own story (titled "When The Magic Came By", the secret origins of Kath), and there is one story concerning Eckes's team (titled "Waiting", centered on Janis Mendoza, one of Eckes's werewolf agents).  So everyone gets their own stories...I just have to learn some discipline.

I do need to have Marina in the forefront for the last third of Chapter 22; she's going to do something Adam Seyfert (Eckes's mystic) can't do.  They need information from the Hunters, who are understandable unwilling to cooperate.  The answer is to have a mystic reach into their minds and pull out the information.  Seyfert can't do it because it's considered enhanced interrogation and therefore not allowed by the FBI.  Marina, not being a federal agent, is under no such constraint and literally rips the information from the mind of the Hunters' leader, leaving him a babbling mess.

After that, I have to move everyone to the side except for Brynna, Georges, Scott and Lily.  Well, Georges is still a captive of the Hunters so he's not front and center.  I'm not going to worry about the middle chapters, where the novel began to slip away from Brynna; I'll tackle them when I start editing.

Now I have to keep reminding myself whose story this is.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

10/05/2011: "A Voice in the Darkness" Progress

Amazing how finding a new job can change your outlook.

I'm feeling pretty good about "A Voice in the Darkness".  I like where the story's going, so I'm feeling confident I'll be able to finish the story soon.  I thought there might've been a problem with the story's timeline but a quick read through showed there wasn't.

So as of right now, "A Voice in the Darkness" is 8,324 words.  Maybe I'll be able to bring this in under 10,000 words but I'm not promising anything.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

My Cluttered Mind: Decisions...Decisions...

My Cluttered Mind: Decisions...Decisions...: I've pretty much decided that I'm going to go into epublishing. While the novel is nowhere near ready for publication (I'm not even finishe...

Decisions...Decisions...

I've pretty much decided that I'm going to go into epublishing.  While the novel is nowhere near ready for publication (I'm not even finished with the first draft yet), I have thought for a while about gathering my completed stories into an anthology.  The eleven stories total about 85,000 words.  Yeah, some of the stories are long.

I'm not ready to dive in yet.  A couple of the stories need some work.  Okay, one needs a lot of work; I don't remember why, but for some reason I finished the first draft and did nothing else with it.  So now I'm doing an aggressive, line-by-line edit of it.  In some circles, this is called rewriting.

I might put together a little essay to include with the stories, something that explains why I'm a writer, why I started and why it's now impossible for me to stop even if nothing else gets published.

The only thing that I'm a bit concerned about is the method of payment.  If payment has to go through PayPal, then I won't be dealing with them.  I won't go into details but let's just say that I have issues with PayPal.

Why am I going this route?  Well, if you can't get published in the more traditional manner, it's time to go a different route.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

My Cluttered Mind: 09/25/2011 - The Fault Lies Not Progress

My Cluttered Mind: 09/25/2011 - The Fault Lies Not Progress: I'm starting to see some regular production. I'm trying to follow a regular schedule...or as regular a schedule as I can considering my wor...

09/25/2011 - The Fault Lies Not Progress

I'm starting to see some regular production.  I'm trying to follow a regular schedule...or as regular a schedule as I can considering my work schedule changes from week to week.  But as long as the stories continue to move forward, I'm not going to question it.

So as of today, "The Fault Lies Not..." is at 10,057 words.  I knew I wouldn't be able to keep it under 10,000 words.  The story's moving toward its conclusion, and there's a lot that still has to be told.

I'm also looking into epublishing, rather than going through the more traditional route.  The one thing I have to pay attention to is how I'd get paid.  Anyone who uses PayPal will by necessity be avoided.  I have issues with PayPal that I don't want to go into detail right now.  Let's just say that if I went with someone who uses PayPal, I won't see anything from my sales for a while.

Not that I have anything ready to go right now.  I do want to gather my completed stories into an anthology, something a traditional publishing house would be reluctant to do for an author who hasn't a real track record.  A couple of the stories need some work (one needs a lot of work), so this won't be happening for a while.

Friday, September 23, 2011

My Cluttered Mind: 09/23/2011: Before The Dawn Progress...Finally

My Cluttered Mind: 09/23/2011: Before The Dawn Progress...Finally: After much hemming, hawing and dwelling, I've finally made some real progress into Chapter 22 of Before The Dawn. It took a bit of shifting...

09/23/2011: Before The Dawn Progress...Finally

After much hemming, hawing and dwelling, I've finally made some real progress into Chapter 22 of Before The Dawn.  It took a bit of shifting around, switching two scenes around but I think it's back on track now.

Of course, the last scene of the chapter includes the interrogation of one of the Hunters.  Part of this has Marina forcing her way into his mind to get the information they're looking for. Think of the scene in 2001 when Bowman turns HAL off.

As of now, Chapter 22 is 1899 words in length.  Overall, the novel is 65258 words in length, with 14742 words until my entirely arbitrary goal of 80000 words.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

My Cluttered Mind: 09/03/2011: "A Voice in the Darkness" Progress

My Cluttered Mind: 09/03/2011: "A Voice in the Darkness" Progress: Despite the stress of the current job, and the stress of trying to find a better job, I managed to make some headway on Side Project 2, "A V...

09/03/2011: "A Voice in the Darkness" Progress

Despite the stress of the current job, and the stress of trying to find a better job, I managed to make some headway on Side Project 2, "A Voice in the Darkness".  As of now, the story is 7,850 words in length.  I might be able to keep it under 10,000 but I'm making no promises.



Sunday, August 7, 2011

My Cluttered Mind: My Cluttered Mind: If I Ever Figured Out How My Mi...

My Cluttered Mind: My Cluttered Mind: If I Ever Figured Out How My Mi...: "My Cluttered Mind: If I Ever Figured Out How My Mind Works... : 'I think if I ever figured out how my mind works, I think I would not be abl..."

My Cluttered Mind: If I Ever Figured Out How My Mind Works...

My Cluttered Mind: If I Ever Figured Out How My Mind Works...: "I think if I ever figured out how my mind works, I think I would not be able to continue writing. Not that I'm slamming out the wordage no..."

If I Ever Figured Out How My Mind Works...

I think if I ever figured out how my mind works, I think I would not be able to continue writing.

Not that I'm slamming out the wordage now.

I have three projects that I'm working on, the novel Before The Dawn, and two shorter works, "The Fault Lies Not..." and "A Voice in the Darkness".  I work this way so that if I get stuck on one, I can move to one of the others.  I've always worked like this.

Now, I'm in a strange position.  I'm stuck on all three projects.  I'm either trying too hard or I'm letting real life get in the way of my writing.  I haven't really written anything for the last three or four days.  That's about the most I can go without writing.  If I try to go any longer, I start getting all nervous and twitchy, and people start thinking I'm having a seizure.

Cure: add another side project.  That is, return to an abandoned side project.

And so, I'm adding "My Soul to Keep" back into my group of projects.  One main project, three side projects.  Not a problem.  And it may help.

I feel a little better about "My Soul to Keep" than I did when I put it aside a couple of weeks ago.  I've tweaked the appearance of Helena Troy, my main character, so that might've been what held me up.  It's happened before.  When I was first starting Before The Dawn, I had trouble picturing Brynna in my mind.  I changed her appearance and charged on into it.  Hopefully, changing Helena's appearance will have the same affect on "My Soul to Keep".

Since I don't give extensive description of my characters, changing a character's appearance only benefits me.  But hey, if I can't picture the characters in my mind, I can't tell their story.

I also considered plotting out "My Soul to Keep" before diving back into it.  I don't usually do more than jot down plot points.  I can't follow plot outlines; my mind is always coming up with ways to make the story better.  (Way back in high school, I had to write a story for a class project.  The teacher wanted a plot outline first.  The story I turned in had the same beginning and the same ending but it didn't follow the plot outline I had turned in.  The teacher wasn't happy.)

I tend to think of plotting the same way Heinlein did:

"Winslow says I don't understand plotting and probably I don't - I have been congratulated many times on the skill shown in my plotting when I knew damn well that the story in question had not been plotted in advance at all.  My notion of a story is an interesting situation in which a human being has to cope with a problem, does so, and thereby changes his personality, character, or evaluations in some measure because the coping has forced him to revise his thinking.  How he copes with it I can't plot because that depends on his character, and I don't know what his character is until I get acquainted with him.  When I can 'hear the character talk' then I'm all right - he works out his own salvation." (from Grumbles From the Grave)

Hopefully having a different image of Helena in my mind will help me get to know her a little better so I can tell her story.

What was that?  Who does Helena look like now?  All I'll give you are the initials:  K.B.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

My Cluttered Mind: 07/31/2011: "The Fault Lies Not..." Progress

My Cluttered Mind: 07/31/2011: "The Fault Lies Not..." Progress: "Slow progress is better than no progress. As of now, 'The Fault Lies Not...' is an even 9500 words long. The only question about the word..."

07/31/2011: "The Fault Lies Not..." Progress

Slow progress is better than no progress.

As of now, "The Fault Lies Not..." is an even 9500 words long.  The only question about the word count is how far over 10,000 words will it end up.

Gotta check story lengths and see what constitutes a novella or a novelette.

Friday, July 29, 2011

My Cluttered Mind: 07/29/2011: Before The Dawn Progress...Finally!

My Cluttered Mind: 07/29/2011: Before The Dawn Progress...Finally!: "After being unable to do anything with the novel for a while, I finally got back to Chapter 22. A change of location for the opening scene,..."

07/29/2011: Before The Dawn Progress...Finally!

After being unable to do anything with the novel for a while, I finally got back to Chapter 22.  A change of location for the opening scene, a few extra lines of dialogue and I think I've gotten a handle on it.  Hopefully this will let me continue with the novel.

Putting aside "My Soul To Keep", which was nothing but a distraction, should help, too.

As of right now, Chapter 22 is 820 words.  In total, Before the Dawn is 64,179 words in length, 15,821 until my goal of 80,000 words.

I'm searching YouTube for a particular scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey.  It's the scene at the end, where Bowman is deactivating Hal.  I need it for inspiration.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

My Cluttered Mind: New Side Project 2: "A Voice in the Darkness" - C...

My Cluttered Mind: New Side Project 2: "A Voice in the Darkness" - C...: "The good thing about working on multiple projects is that there's always something to work on. I stopped working on 'My Soul to Keep' when..."

New Side Project 2: "A Voice in the Darkness" - Characters & Progress

The good thing about working on multiple projects is that there's always something to work on.

I stopped working on "My Soul to Keep" when I realized I wasn't making any progress on it.  I was just rewriting the same opening scenes over and over again.  Since I like having two side projects along with the novel, I dug up a different project to work on.  That led me to dig up this story that I hadn't worked on since 2009, titled "A Voice in the Darkness".

Before I tell you about this story, I have to tell you about another one, titled "With Eyes Open...", actually the first story I had accepted for publication (in an emag that went under not long after the story was published).

Ever be alone in a room but you see movement out of the corner of your eye?  You look and don't see anything, so you decide that it's just your mind playing tricks on you.  Suppose there really was something there but for some reason you can't see it directly.  I speculated about a race of beings who are out of phase with the reality we know, making them invisible and undetectable.  They arrived here on Earth from "somewhere else" and needed a physical anchor to remain here.  When they arrived in the year 5 AD, they picked a Hindu man to be their anchor.  One thousand years after that, they selected a woman named Robyn to be their anchor.  In 2005, they selected a woman named Mira Frayne to be their anchor.  Mira wants nothing to do with them.  The creatures, named Adityas by the Hindu, will not be denied...

That's the basics of "With Eyes Open..."  Which brings us to "A Voice in the Darkness".

I hadn't meant for "A Voice in the Darkness" to be a sequel to "With Eyes Open..."  It had started with the main character being sent into an orbital station on which an experiment had run out of control.  She had to stop the experiment and retrieve the research, which was conducted by her ex-husband.  As I got into it, that basic story line stayed in place but before I knew it, my subconscious inserted Mira into the story.  I figured out why they were there and moved on with it.  Then, one day in 2009, I just stopped working on it.  Why, I don't know.  Now I aim to finish it.

I start "A Voice in the Darkness" with a quote from the Book of Job:  "Behold, I go forward but he is not there; and backward but I cannot perceive him; on the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him; he hideth on the right hand, that I cannot see him."

The good thing about going back to stalled projects is a head start on the word count.  After making a quick rewriting pass through "A Voice in the Darkness", it stands at 6,399 words.

The three main characters of the story are:


Mandalay Jones

Name:  Mandalay Jones
Race:  Human

Age:  46
Date of Birth:  10 June 2153
Place of Birth:  Basingstoke, Hampshire, England
Citizenship:  Mandalay is a citizen of Earth
Legal Status:  No criminal record
Relatives:  Matthew Carter (ex-husband), Mandala Jones (younger sister), Harrison Cox (brother-in-law), unnamed parents

Height:  5’8” (172.72 cm)
Weight:  136 lb (61.69 kg)
Eye Color:  Brown
Hair Color:  Brown
Religion:  Agnostic
Intelligence:  Above average
Strength:  Normal
Speed:  Normal
Stamina:  Normal
Durability:  Normal
Agility:  Normal
Reflexes:  Normal

Profession/Rank (Current):  Unemployed
Profession/Rank (Former):  Research assistant, pilot
Current Alias:  N/A
Former Alias:  N/A
Personal Weaponry:  Various, as needed
Usual Base of Operations:  Mobile

Friends/Allies/Confidants:  Mira Frayne
Enemies:
Skills:  Mandalay is an excellent researcher, who is very much aware of everything going on around her.  She is a keen observer who is very rarely shaken by what goes on around her.
Special Abilities: N/A
Source of Special Abilities:  N/A
Interests/Hobbies:


Mira Frayne

Name:  Mira Frayne
Race:  Human

Age:  236
Date of Birth:  20 March 1963
Place of Birth:  Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Citizenship:  Mira is a citizen of Earth
Legal Status:  No criminal record
Relatives:  Unnamed parents (deceased)

Height:  5’6” (167.64 cm)
Weight:  130 lb (58.97 kg)
Eye Color:  Hazel
Hair Color:  Brown
Religion:  Agnostic
Intelligence:  Above average
Strength:  Normal     
Speed:  Normal
Stamina:  Normal
Durability:  Normal
Agility:  Normal
Reflexes:  Normal

Profession/Rank (Current):  Physical anchor and ambassador for Aditya race
Profession/Rank (Former):  Empathic therapist, counselor
Current Alias:  N/A
Former Alias:  N/A
Personal Weaponry:  None
Usual Base of Operations:  Mobile

Friends/Allies/Confidants:  Matthew Carter, Mandalay Jones
Enemies:
Skills:  Prior to joining the Adityas, Mira was a proficient counselor and therapist, using her empathic skills to help people overcome mental and emotional problems.  Since joining the Adityas, she has become a driven advocate for the insubstantial race, ensuring their secrecy is maintained.
Special Abilities:  Mira was born with a strong empathic sense, allowing her to easily sense the thoughts and emotional condition of her clients.
Source of Special Abilities:  Unknown
Interests/Hobbies:
.
Matthew Carter

Name:  Matthew Carter
Race:  Human

Age:  52
Date of Birth:  27 September 2147
Place of Birth:  Carson City, Nevada
Citizenship:  Matthew is a citizen of Earth
Legal Status:  No criminal record
Relatives:  Mandalay Jones (ex-wife), unnamed parents

Height: 6’3” (190.5 cm)
Weight:  160 lbs (72.57 kg)
Eye Color:  Blue
Hair Color:  Blonde (thinning)
Religion:  Atheist
Intelligence:  Genius
Strength:  Normal
Speed:  Normal
Stamina:  Normal
Durability:  Normal
Agility:  Normal
Reflexes:  Normal

Profession/Rank (Current):  Senior Research Fellow, MilSci, a division of EarthGov
Profession/Rank (Former):  None
Current Alias:  N/A
Former Alias:  N/A
Personal Weaponry:  N/A
Usual Base of Operations:  Bowen Research Station, Earth

Friends/Allies/Confidants:  Mandalay Jones
Enemies:
Skills:  Matthew is a highly skilled physicist, able to run the most complicated calculations in his mind.  He also has an active imagination, allowing him to take leaps and make connections others might miss.  He sometimes appears to be the stereotypical absent-minded professor, and sometimes appears to obsess on the most trivial of details.  These are really just defense mechanisms to protect his formidable intellect.  Matthew holds a PhD in high energy particle physics, earned at the University of Manchester.
Special Abilities:  N/A
Source of Special Abilities:  N/A
Interests/Hobbies:
.

 Hopefully, this will prove more productive than "My Soul to Keep".


Oh, and after this story is finished, Mandalay Jones will show up again.  Her story doesn't end with this.  I actually plan on using her in another novel (which I hope to get to when Before the Dawn is finished).  Plus I may come up with something for her to do at her new job.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Cluttered Mind: Knowing When It's Time To Step Back

My Cluttered Mind: Knowing When It's Time To Step Back: "One of my side projects, 'My Soul To Keep', is going nowhere. I keep rewriting the same scenes over and over again, hoping they'll give me ..."

Knowing When It's Time To Step Back

One of my side projects, "My Soul To Keep", is going nowhere.  I keep rewriting the same scenes over and over again, hoping they'll give me the spark to continue...but I keep running out of steam with it.

So rather than continue to flog a comatose horse, I'm going to put it aside and pick up a different project.  The one I'm turning to is titled "A Voice in the Darkness".  It's actually a bit of a sequel to another story, "With Eyes Open...", which was published in 2005.  (I'd put up the link for the story, but the emag that published it went under.)

If anyone wants to read it, let me know.

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Cluttered Mind: 07/15/2011: Before the Dawn - Insomnia Driven Stat...

My Cluttered Mind: 07/15/2011: Before the Dawn - Insomnia Driven Stat...: "Ah insomnia...my dearest friend...my oldest foe...this is the first time in a long time that I've been able to bend you to my will... I've..."

07/15/2011: Before the Dawn - Insomnia Driven Status Report

Ah insomnia...my dearest friend...my oldest foe...this is the first time in a long time that I've been able to bend you to my will...

I've managed to get into Chapter 22.

As of right now, Chapter 22 is 698 words in length.  Overall, Before the Dawn is 335 double-spaced pages, 64,057 words in length, 15,943 words until my goal of 80,000.  (Not a hard and fast goal.  If I finish the novel at 70,000, I'm not going to be upset about it.  By the time I finish editing this thing, it'll probably be over 80,000 words.)

Now to finish watching Red Eye then another valiant attempt to sleep.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Cluttered Mind: 07/10/2011: Progress Report - "The Fault Lies Not...

My Cluttered Mind: 07/10/2011: Progress Report - "The Fault Lies Not...: "Had a rather productive couple of days. I managed to make progress on the two side projects, 'The Fault Lies Not...' and 'My Soul To Keep'...."

07/10/2011: Progress Report - "The Fault Lies Not..." & "My Soul To Keep"

Had a rather productive couple of days.  I managed to make progress on the two side projects, "The Fault Lies Not..." and "My Soul To Keep".  Still working on a few plot details on "My Soul To Keep"; what exactly do the citizens know of their past; how does Helena, the main character, go from devout to questioning?  They'll all come along and be worked out as I write the story.

With "The Fault Lies Not...", I have Lin and Vincent marching toward a showdown.  They're about to find the apartment the killer has been using.  While searching it, they come under fire...but the killer is not doing the shooting.

So as of right now, "The Fault Lies Not..." is 8794 words in length.  "My Soul To Keep" is 1221 words in length.  How long are they going to end up being?  As long as they take to tell the stories.

And so it goes...

Friday, July 1, 2011

My Cluttered Mind: 07/01/2011: "The Fault Lies Not..." Small Progres...

My Cluttered Mind: 07/01/2011: "The Fault Lies Not..." Small Progres...: "The last scene I had written for 'The Fault Lies Not...' was bothering me. I can't really put my fingers on exactly what was wrong; it was ..."

07/01/2011: "The Fault Lies Not..." Small Progress Report...And The Future...

The last scene I had written for "The Fault Lies Not..." was bothering me.  I can't really put my fingers on exactly what was wrong; it was just not sitting well.  So I went back and and rewrote the scene.  I feel better about it now.

So as of right now, "The Fault Lies Not..." is 8,148 words long.

As of right now, I have one sequel planned for Lin and Vincent, titled "Jedna".  I'm thinking of maybe two more stories beyond that.  No real plot ideas yet, except for one small fact:  Vincent will not make it to the end of one of them, dying in Lin's arms.

We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

My Cluttered Mind: 06/26/2011: Before The Dawn Progress Report

My Cluttered Mind: 06/26/2011: Before The Dawn Progress Report: "Even though at times it felt like I would never finish this chapter, I have finally reached the end of Chapter 21. It needs plenty of work,..."

06/26/2011: Before The Dawn Progress Report

Even though at times it felt like I would never finish this chapter, I have finally reached the end of Chapter 21.  It needs plenty of work, especially the end, but I'll get that when I edit.

Chapter 21 is 3,967 words in length.  The novel is now 63,359 words in length, 16,641 words until my goal of 80,000 words.

I'm going to take a few days before I dive into Chapter 22.  That one shouldn't take me too long to write, since it just covers the aftermath of Chapter 21.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Cluttered Mind: 06/23/2011: "My Soul To Keep" Progress Report

My Cluttered Mind: 06/23/2011: "My Soul To Keep" Progress Report: "I think I have a handle on Side Project 2, 'My Soul To Keep'. I changed the opening to the story, giving a little introduction before divin..."

06/23/2011: "My Soul To Keep" Progress Report

I think I have a handle on Side Project 2, "My Soul To Keep".  I changed the opening to the story, giving a little introduction before diving into the story.  This sets the tone of the story and establishes that someone who intimately knows what's going on is telling the story.  Who exactly is telling the story is revealed at the end.

I also slightly changed the appearance of the main character, Helena Troy.  This is important; back when I was trying to start Before The Dawn, I had trouble because I couldn't visualize Brynna in my mind.  I changed her appearance and it's been clear sailing (more or less) since then.  Hopefully the slight change I made to Helena will help.

As of right now, "My Soul To Keep" is a meager 781 words.  It's a start...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

My Cluttered Mind: 06/12/2011: Before the Dawn Progress Report (and a...

My Cluttered Mind: 06/12/2011: Before the Dawn Progress Report (and a...: "Making slow but steady progress on Chapter 21, which is good. If I can maintain the slow but steady progress, I should be able to chug thro..."

06/12/2011: Before the Dawn Progress Report (and a couple of other things)

Making slow but steady progress on Chapter 21, which is good.  If I can maintain the slow but steady progress, I should be able to chug through the rest of the first draft before the world ends on December 21, 2012.*

As of right now, Chapter 21 is 3,034 words in length.  Overall, the novel is 62,426 words in length, 17,574 words until my goal of 80,000 words.

******

The couple of other things...

As I've said, I work on multiple projects at the same time.  Given the way my mind works, this is best for me.  I'm always coming up with thoughts, ideas, characters who may or may not fit into whatever project I'm focusing on.  Working on multiple projects allows me to clear all that out.  Despite what some I've discussed this with believe, I've never gotten details of the individual stories confused.

As it turns out, the late Isaac Asimov did the same thing.  As the blog post "Doing the Asimov" by James Scott Bell says, Asimov would have multiple typewriters around his apartment, each with different projects.  Get stuck on one, move on to another and keep writing.

I can't afford multiple laptops (does anyone still make typewriters?) but I can afford multiple notebooks.  So if I get stuck on Before the Dawn, I can turn to "The Fault Lies Not...".  Get stuck on that one, I can turn to "My Soul To Keep".  I keep it at three projects.

******

Below are pictures of Grace Lee Whitney (Yeoman Janice Rand, Star Trek TOS) and Marianna Hill (Doctor Helen Noel, Star Trek TOS, "Dagger of the Mind").  A couple of characters bear a striking resemblance to them.  Who?  I'll tell you later.





* No I don't believe the world is going to end on December 21, 2012.  Why don't I?  Check out this site http://www.2012hoax.org.  It's dedicated to the topic of 2012, a good, logical site that debunks the insanity.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Just a test...don't mind me

Photobucket - wordboy1 wanted you to check this out
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My Cluttered Mind: 06/09/2011 The Fault Lies Not... Progress Report

My Cluttered Mind: 06/09/2011 The Fault Lies Not... Progress Report: "Not a whole lot of progress on Side Project 1 - 'The Fault Lies Not...' These last few days I've been a bit distracted by other things. Bu..."

06/09/2011 The Fault Lies Not... Progress Report

Not a whole lot of progress on Side Project 1 - "The Fault Lies Not..."  These last few days I've been a bit distracted by other things.  But a little progress is better than no progress, right?

"The Fault Lies Not..." is now up to 8,074 words.  It's probably going to end up over 10,000 words.

Oh yeah, there's a picture I wanted to share:

Nichelle Nichols...Lieutenant Uhura from Star Trek TOS (The REAL Uhura, I might add.)

A certain character bears a striking resemblance to her...although the character is taller...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

My Cluttered Mind: 06/05/2011 Before The Dawn Progress Report

My Cluttered Mind: 06/05/2011 Before The Dawn Progress Report: "Feeling a bit better about Chapter 21. If I can maintain a regular writing schedule, I should be able to made some good headway on it. May..."

06/05/2011 Before The Dawn Progress Report

Feeling a bit better about Chapter 21.  If I can maintain a regular writing schedule, I should be able to made some good headway on it.  Maybe I'll be able to finish it before the date the novel starts on (October 11, 2012) actually rolls around.

Chapter 21 is now 2475 words in length.  In total, the novel is 61,867 words in length, 18,133 words until my goal of 80,000 words.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

My Cluttered Mind: A Little Something I Was Tinkering With

My Cluttered Mind: A Little Something I Was Tinkering With: "A couple years ago, I had it in my head to write a superhero story. Still do, actually; I'm a long-time comic book reader, so I wanted to t..."

A Little Something I Was Tinkering With

A couple years ago, I had it in my head to write a superhero story.  Still do, actually; I'm a long-time comic book reader, so I wanted to try my hand at writing something in the genre.  I might go back to it one of these days.

So, here it is...

********************

Section Alpha:  A Quiet Moment

            He leaned back in his chair and sighed.  Around him, the Monitor Room was quiet; only the sound of the air conditioners and the servos adjusting the chair could be heard.  Behind him, a massive holographic globe hovered in mid-air, a few indicators marring its otherwise calm appearance.  He wasn’t concerned about the indicators; none of the emergencies were drastic enough to require the attention of anyone beyond local authorities.  Certainly none of them required the attention of Section Alpha.
            His eyes scanned the screens arrayed before him.  They confirmed what the globe showed.  For once, Earth was quiet.  None of the petty squabbles that so concerned the human race were raging out of control, or at least hadn’t gotten beyond the name-calling stage.  As long as weapons weren’t being used, there was no need for the team to get involved.
            With another sigh, he closed his eyes.  The team, the men and women drawn together by the need to protect the world.  Protect it from itself and, he thought, from people like themselves.  With abilities granted them by science, nature or other arcane sources, most felt the need to work for the advancement of the human race.
            Some, however, felt the need to take, to dominate, to destroy.  When that happened, he and his teammates were there to handle the situation.
            What did that old comic book say about great power and great responsibility, he wondered.  If only they knew how true that was.
            The comm buzzed for attention.  “Monitor Room.”
            “Hey, ‘face.  Quiet up there?”
            A thin smile crossed his face.  “All quiet up here, Stryke.”  He tapped a request into the keyboard before him.  “According to Adele, there’s a minor fire in California, and it looks like Kilauea is blowing its top yet again.  Maybe the world’s decided to give us a break.”
            “Doubt it.  I get nervous when it’s too quiet.  I’ll be up to relieve you in three hours.”
            “Stryke?”
            “Yes?”
            “It’s Interface, not just ‘face.”
            “Takes too long to say.  See you in three.”  The comm went silent.
            The man known to the public as Interface stared at the keyboard for another moment then shook his head.  “If we have to use code names,” he muttered, “use the whole name.”
            He tapped another request into the keyboard and the information on one screen changed.  Most of the team were in their quarters, enjoying the quiet while it lasted.  As per procedure, two were in the Ready Room, waiting to deploy if needed.  Another request told him it was Avenger, the nominal leader of the team, and Silk, the team’s resident expert on the occult.
            We’re ready for anything, he thought.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Picture My Phone Wouldn't Post

For some reason, my Android phone, with a Blogger app, wouldn't or couldn't post this picture.  Too big?  Maybe.

Anyway, this is the picture...

(ETA: I forgot to add that the artist is Brett Booth.)

My Cluttered Mind: The Picture My Phone Wouldn't Post

My Cluttered Mind: The Picture My Phone Wouldn't Post: "For some reason, my Android phone, with a Blogger app, wouldn't or couldn't post this picture. Too big? Maybe. Anyway, this is the pictu..."

Testing...testing

testing...testing
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Monday, May 30, 2011

My Cluttered Mind: 05/30/2011: Before the Dawn Progress Report

My Cluttered Mind: 05/30/2011: Before the Dawn Progress Report: "Okay, I think I've gotten over whatever hangup I had with Chapter 21. Hopefully I'll be able to keep working on the novel. Word count: C..."

05/30/2011: Before the Dawn Progress Report

Okay, I think I've gotten over whatever hangup I had with Chapter 21.  Hopefully I'll be able to keep working on the novel.

Word count:  Chapter 21 is 2019 words; the novel is 61,411 words; 18,589 words until my goal of 80,000 words.

Friday, May 20, 2011

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Cluttered Mind: 05/19/2011: "My Soul To Keep" - Sketching My Way T...

My Cluttered Mind: 05/19/2011: "My Soul To Keep" - Sketching My Way T...: "Let me start off by saying I'm in no way an artist. Yet I found myself in a position where I had to draw up some sketches for the Side Proj..."

05/19/2011: "My Soul To Keep" - Sketching My Way To The Future

Let me start off by saying I'm in no way an artist.  Yet I found myself in a position where I had to draw up some sketches for the Side Project 2, "My Soul To Keep".  I knew I'd have people moving from location to location within a hemisphere fifty miles across.  So I sketched up the landscape of the habitat, the town of Coventry, where most of the action takes place, and one specific location.  I'll be doing others as I need them.

I'll have to do the same thing with Before the Dawn, also.  My characters are storming a five story building.  It would be a good idea to know where things are located.

Anyway, here's the sketches I've done so far for "My Soul To Keep":





This is the general landscape of the habitat, known as Coventry.  It has a diameter of fifty miles.  The square at the bottom is the town, also known as Coventry.  The lines are a monorail system, the squares are stations.




This is the town of Coventry.  (Remember, nothing is really to scale.  This is just a general layout.)  The town is divided into eight sectors.  The various locations are: 1) East Athletic Field with locker rooms, training facilities, showers & spa (Sector 1); 2) East Amphitheater - for concerts and plays (Sector 2); 3) East Residential Complex A - 100 residents (Sector 3); 4) East Residential Complex B - 100 residents (Sector 3); 5) Restaurant Complex - room enough to accommodate all 600 residents at the same time - this doesn't happen often (Sectors 3/4); 6) South Residential Complex A - 100 residents (Sector 4); 7) Nursery/Education Complex (Sector 4); 8) Magistrar's office - Town Hall (Sector 4/5); 9) Sleep Center (Sector 5); 10) South Residential Complex B - 100 Residents (Sector 5); 11) Entertainment Complex - food & drink are available (Arcade) (Sector 5/6); 12) West Residential Complex A - 100 Residents (Sector 6); 13) West Residential Complex B - 100 Residents (Sector 6); 14) West Amphitheater - for concerts and plays (Sector 7); 15) West Athletic Field with locker rooms, training facilities, showers & spa (Sector 8); 16) Reflecting Pond (Sectors 7,8,1&2); 17) Town Center - Hub for monorails, general meeting area - food & drink available (Sectors 7,8,1&2); 18) Church of Ashk'rhaya - more of a chapel actually - there are no regular services - it's more of a place for quiet retrospection (Sectors 4/5).  Again, the lines are monorails, the squares are stations.

Because Coventry is an enclosed habitat, the environment is tightly controlled, as is the population.  You live forty years then you report to the Sleep Center, where you're put to sleep...permanently.  (A bit Logan's Run-ish, I know.)  There is no way to avoid or postpone it; the need to report to the Sleep Center is programmed into them.  It's like an instinct with them.  This is the Waiting Room, where they actually go to say good-bye to loved ones and actually die.

The general layout is:  1) Double Door Entrance; 2) Holographic windows (the Sleep Center is a windowless building.  The holograms are there to put the witnesses at ease); 3) Seating; 4) Sarcophagus (Drawer slides out, person lays in it, drawer closes.  The person is vaporized.); 5) Speaking platform (Magistrar & attendants only); 6) Doors to back room (Magistrar & attendants only).

Hopefully this will help as I get into the story.  I have at least one more location to draw up (the residential apartment) but I'll get to them later.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Cluttered Mind: 05/15/2011: "The Fault Lies Not" Progress Report

My Cluttered Mind: 05/15/2011: "The Fault Lies Not" Progress Report: "I've reached 7,314 words on Side Project 1, 'The Fault Lies Not'. Considering everything I want to do in the rest of the story, I don't kno..."

05/15/2011: "The Fault Lies Not" Progress Report

I've reached 7,314 words on Side Project 1, "The Fault Lies Not".  Considering everything I want to do in the rest of the story, I don't know if I'm going to keep it under 10,000.  Not that I'm too concerned about the word count.  Whenever asked, I usually say that the story will be as long as it takes to tell the story.  (Some say that shorter works stand a better chance of getting published.  I'm not convinced; I've found plenty of publishers who will take works over 10,000 words.)

Hopefully I’ll be able to stay on track and get the story finished.  I have at least one more story about Lin and I’d like to get to it.

Now, excuse me while I rant a moment...

I NEED A GOD DAMN AIRCARD FOR MY LAPTOP!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Cluttered Mind: 05/10/2011

My Cluttered Mind: 05/10/2011: "Sent out my most recent story, 'The End of Seconds', to Asimov's today. I should know something in about a month."

05/10/2011

Sent out my most recent story, "The End of Seconds", to Asimov's today.  I should know something in about a month.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Cluttered Mind: Progress Report 05/07/2011

My Cluttered Mind: Progress Report 05/07/2011: "I'm well into Chapter 21 of Before the Dawn . At the moment, Chapter 21 is 1895 words long. The novel itself is 61,287 words long, with 18..."

Progress Report 05/07/2011

I'm well into Chapter 21 of Before the Dawn.  At the moment, Chapter 21 is 1895 words long.  The novel itself is 61,287 words long, with 18,713 words until my goal of 80,000 words.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Galaxy 666



Ever hear of a science fiction novel titled Galaxy 666, written by Pel Torro?  It's probably the worst science fiction novel ever written.  Ever.  In the history of the genre of science fiction, Galaxy 666 is perhaps the worse example.  It makes any of the original movies made by Skiffy (the Syfy Channel for those who don't know) look like Gone With The WindPlan Nine From Outer Space was better than this novel.  Are you hip to what I'm sayin'?  Are you pickin' up what I'm puttin' down?

Here's an example of the scintillating prose found between the covers of this yarn:

The things were odd, weird, grotesque. There was something horribly uncustomary and unwonted about them. They were completely unfamiliar. Their appearance was outlandish and extraordinary. here was something quite phenomenal about them. They were supernormal; they were unparalleled; they were unexampled. The shape of the aliens was singular in every sense. They were curious, odd, queer, peculiar and fantastic, and yet when every adjective had been used on them, when every preternatural epithet had been applied to their aberrant and freakish appearance, when everything that could be said about such eccentric, exceptional, anomalous creatures had been said, they still remained indescribable in any concrete terms.

I've read the novel a couple of times over the years.  The first time, I was just a kid and didn't know better.  I had asked my mother to buy it for me because on the cover what what looked like the Enterprise.  Was I in for a surprise!  Even the worst episode of Star Trek was better than this novel.

The other times I've read it?  I'm basically a masochistic sort who likes to inflict punishment on himself by reading bad novels and stories.

Why am I telling you this?

I have, at times, had the odd crisis when I think I'm writing the modern equivalent of Galaxy 666.

Chapter 21 of Before The Dawn is giving me fits, and the work I'm doing on the side projects, "The Fault Lies Not" and "My Soul to Keep", is leaving me unsatisfied.  I was working on Chapter 21, rewriting the same paragraph for the fifth time when I stopped, read what I had written and thought, Galaxy 666 is better than this.

I don't know if I'm just trying too hard and need to take a break; if I'm just stressed from being out of work; or if I'm just a lousy writer.

Although, something may be changing soon, so maybe...