First Drafts and New Years

Take that, sky!

Take that, sky!

When it comes to starting a new tale, I find there are two ways to go about it.

The first is to plan things out. To take notes, jot down what you need. Little scraps that come together, get played with and eventually sorted into some kind of blueprint for the story. At which point, the first draft is put together and probably isn’t unlike what the blue print made it out to be. I foresee this approach being outright necessary for novels, but optional for short stories.

Short stories can get away with beginning with a first draft that is guaranteed unsellable, a throwaway draft. It is, after all, just a short story. Perhaps a 14,000 word maximum, but most of the time, it will be less than 10,000 words. Probably more like 6k to 8k. From this first draft, one can get down a number of details and discover what kind of questions need to be answered after research. You can figure out names and hammer a decent plot of some kind.

My current approach to my first novella is somewhere between these two methods. It actually began with a short story I wrote a year ago, totalling some 14,000 words. I like the characters, but the tale itself could have been beefed up some. So I threw it in the draft bin and went to work on other things. Now, I’ve dusted it off and am looking over it. I’ve taken notes, added names and added thickening plot elements. I think there are still a few things that will need further development, but I’ll handle that as I write this second draft.

It’s hard to figure out what manner I prefer for story telling. I’ve never written a tried and true novella before. It’s always been short story. Longer tales require more planning, more consideration and respect for the length. Who in their right mind would want to write a fully throwaway draft of an entire book is an absolute writing masochist, and if they plan to live off writing royalties, they better grow to like hunger pains.

This kind of transition is not what I expected. But learning it is part of my growth as a writer. And on those grounds, I’m considering my resolutions for new years.

First, I’m making a promise to myself to no longer voice my political views on Twitter and Facebook so often. It alienates people, is bad for business and fiction is primarily meant to be an escape from reality.

Two, I’m going to try and not read or study anymore producers, actors, other authors or directors of any kind unless they’ve already passed on. The fact is I’ve been burned and let down by some of the blogs I’ve been looking at. I won’t name names, but some of the views expressed sound downright abysmal. I’ve learned a few things which have frustrated me.

Third, write 1,000 words a day minimum if possible. Not including blogging, tweeting or the like. It takes 30 minutes. It keeps me on schedule with everything I’m trying to do. Think about it. 1,000 words a day, at seven times a week. That’s a short story draft a week.

Fourth and final of my writing resolutions. Get published by two or three new publishers this year. The fact is, I want to prove that multiple people think my work can sell. If I’m published all the time by one or two guys, it suggests that I appeal to only a certain group of people. If I have four or five publishers who think I sell, then that says I might have something ideal.

So that’s it. Happy New Years, folks!

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Some Serious Developments

So word came in yesterday that my contract has come to an end at no fault of my own. I’m not worried about it. Financially, I am in no worries for sometime. And in my field, it’s not too difficult to find a new position.

But I look at the spare time as a tremendous boon. Now I can catch up on the movies I’ve been waiting to see and work out more. I can polish my resume, work on technical skills and study business and programming. I’ve been meaning to for sometime. I can read more and write way more.

I deactivated my Facebook account in order to focus on writing for a while. I just don’t need the distractions; the latest political rantings, the pictures and memes, the occasional chats. I’m hot and bothered enough, thank you.

I’ll be taking it easy. Talk to you folks on Monday.

Tranzfurm ‘n Rollz Out, Ya Gitz!

It transforms. It has Orks. What more do you want?

It transforms. It has Orks. What more do you want?

Head on over to Da Waaagh forums to see the pictures of this fully transforming masterpiece. Talk about awesome.

Interestingly enough, I found out about this model through the saved searches on Google+. After Facebook’s modified user interface today, I found myself going back to G+ to see what I’ve been missing. It’s growing on me.

So today is off to a rough start. My LG Ally phone’s keyboard has decided to stop working. I don’t know what’s wrong with it. I’ve checked some forums but no one has the answer, so I’m taking it into the shop after my reports are finished for work.

Today I’m making an effort to get started on writing some stories for other publishing companies besides the Black Library. For a couple of years, the Black Library competitions are the only thing I’ve honestly tried professionally, being far too content to write strictly for fun. And Lord Lucan’s success has galvanized me to try.

Today I’m going to throw more effort into it. Reports are almost done. I’ve 10 more pieces of music for writing to post a little later today. Later folks.

Exterminatus

Orks, the galaxy's herpes, now take their killings in groups of four.

Orks, the galaxy's herpes, now take their killings in groups of four. It's not easy being green.

Hold the phone. It seems that Space Marine will be getting a game mode called ‘Exterminatus’ within it. This is a four player cooperative game where, at least from the screen shots, players take on hordes of Orks.

But don’t grease your palms just yet. According to this article released 3 hours ago on Gamespy, this game mode won’t ship until October in a DLC package. This is perfect given that most people should be finishing the single player about that time anyway. To casually keep up to date on Space Marine, check out their Facebook page.

Quakin’

I wish it was that kinda Quake...

Quake II wasn't bad, but Quake D.C. kind of sucked.

Alright, so yours truly was temporarily delayed yesterday thanks to tremors that struck the east coast of the United States.

The rumbling started while I was at my desk at work. For a moment, I wondered if someone was jumping around or intentionally shaking my cubicle, but when other people mentioned it as well I realized it was quake tremors. I imagine that explosives, like some people guessed, are more likely to be a powerful shake and then done. That is unless they were placed to demolish a building, where proper placement and timed detonations would collapse a building. Hence when it started going down, I acted on my elementary school training and threw myself under my desk should anything fall. About five seconds later,  I was told we were to evacuate the building. So I snatched my bag and joined everyone else in orderly but hasty departure.

Everyone dashed outside after swamping the staircases. We assembled in the parking lot, laughing about it. My Facebook news feed was abuzz with news about it, and during the jog down ten flights of stairs I even managed to squeeze out a message via my phone. Everyone was fine, just shook up by the experience. Unlike the west coast, we don’t get many earth jiggles in these parts. Still, we slowly began to laugh and take it easy about the news. 5.8 in Virginia. Could have been worse than a few broken bottles and minor scraps. Phone signals were weakened by traffic of people calling but still got through to make sure my family was alright after a few tries.

Still, you can’t go through a mid-sized earthquake without some collateral damage. The news later said that the Washington Monument and National Cathedral both took some structural damage. The Cathedral definitely got it worse, with three of the four pinnacles falling. Those tops are the highest in all of D.C., so repairing them will be a pain. Still, anyone who has attended the church on a Sunday knows that they’re good for it, either now or soon enough.

Also of interest, certain animals at the Washington Zoo started acted erratically a full fifteen minutes before the tremors ever struck. Taken from the Washington Post’s article:

The first warnings of the earthquake may have occurred at the National Zoo, where officials said some animals seemed to feel it coming before people did. The red ruffed lemurs began “alarm calling” a full 15 minutes before the quake hit, zoo spokeswoman Pamela Baker-Masson said. In the Great Ape House, Iris, an orangutan, let out a guttural holler 10 seconds before keepers felt the quake. The flamingos huddled together in the water seconds before people felt the rumbling. The rheas got excited. And the hooded mergansers — a kind of duck — dashed for the safety of the water.

We WILL persevere!

We WILL persevere!

So we’re fine over here. Let go early, so we jetted on home. Some people were a little shook up over it, but we’ll be alright.

My plans to see Conan the Barbarian tonight got canceled however as traffic flooded the streets, so I parked myself at my favorite bar and chatted with my bartender, and backlogged a review for C.L. Werner’s Blood for the Blood God.

So that’s all the news for now. Working on a few reviews and am considering a musing piece about Khorne that may rock your socks off. Might try to line up another 10 songs for writing, probably looking for more ambient tunes and music. Then I’ll be hitting up the rest of my piece for September. Got to stay focused, earthquakes be damned.