Another week closer

Yesterday I stood in Chicago, staring out at Lake Superior from my hotel. It was before the obligatory geocaching (I would have been more excited if my crappy shoes hadn’t given me blisters the previous two days – and I, in my infinite wisdom, chose to pack for minimal luggage), the air was just a touch crisp, and the wind was blowing (in Chicago! Go figure.) I had left for Chicago on Wednesday with grand visions of getting some writing done in my down time, but in the end I succumbed to peer pressure on Wednesday, which went something like

“You wanna come with us after dinner?”
“Ah, I don’t know…”
“OK, well we’re just going down the street-”
“OK!, I’m there!!”

Yeah, heavy peer pressure, I know. But the next night I succumbed to slumber after the off-site dinner (mmmmm…..), and then there I was yesterday morning, sipping coffee, watching the waves just start to white cap near the Navy Pier. I think I’m a little disappointed in myself, although it was only human to take part in a group activity.

But then I look at the calendar. The last shreds of summer are shaking off, and the promise of Autumn and Winter are in sight – the classic weather for writing in my opinion. To complete it, nanowrimo is fast approaching – there’s only five weeks until November first – and I haven’t done any real outlining for my project. I’ve done research, doodled some plot points, but nothing structured to help me make the finish line. And if I’ve learned anything in the last year of play-writing, its that as annoying and schoolmarmish as it may be, I actually produce better if I have a structure to flesh out. I’m not the kind to detail every nuance in the outline, and I certainly allow for room to change direction, change focus, etc., but it was only with a well thought out outline that I was able to make any promise when I tried writing The Dreaming Pools.

OK, I’ve waxed enough here. Off to take advantage of the minimalization of my desk (this morning’s project).

Have fun kids,

~Mike

Kindle fun with Lamentation (again)(X3)

Don’t know why I find this so much fun to notice. I’m looking for something to read for my flight next week, and I keep putting Lamentation off (not for a lack of merit, just resources to include time), but once again its listed with three prices (two of them the same price) (and as I’ve noted in previous blog posts), so right this second I have a choice between spending $6.39 and $7.99. I really wish I knew a way to ask Mr. Scholes – what do you get for the extra buck sixty??

Of course, this would mean taking my Kindle with me for the offsite to Chicago. Meh.

[UPDATE] I bought the $6.39 version for the Kindle. My luck its probably missing something crucial. Like participles.

I’ve forgotten everything I know

Not that I knew a great deal to begin with – I’m not published, or even well turned-down. I am, as Jamie over at HowNotToWrite likes to point out (not the first, to be sure, just the more recent), someone who is infatuated with the idea of being a writer, but not actually accomplished at finishing the task.

Well, not entirely true. I’ve written short stories. And even first (and a half) drafts of novels. Just nothing that is completed enough to send out for review (of any kind).

So here I sit. My brain is actually turning (and churning) out new ideas again, which is both refreshing and nerve wracking, mostly because it chooses that midway point in my 1 hour commute to spew dialog across the dashboard, at which point I have to capture enough in my short term memory to be able to repeat it, so I can drive the rest of the way home repeating the same dialog over and over and over again so that when I hit the house in a cold panic, I can pull out a keyboard or a pen or stab myself and use the blood to write down the mantra I’ve developed, by which point whatever it was has gone from making sense to being the mad gibberish of a Lovecraftian hero.

Needless to say, progress is slow.

I must say, though, I am somewhat inspired by a style I hadn’t seen before. I’ve started reading the Kevin J. Anderson Saga of Seven Suns series, and Anderson takes an approach to a huge cast (of necessary) characters that I’m rather taken with. Most epic novels that use tons of characters try to slip them in one at a time so that you build your cast over the course of books (Jordan comes to mind). What Anderson does, though, is to slam you with new characters one right after the other, but to keep sanity by linking them together from scene so that one builds on the intro of the previous. I’m not doing it justice here, but its a pretty cool technique if you ask me for introducing large numbers of characters without bewildering your reader (helps they all don’t have similar looking names – curse you authors I won’t dare name here!!).

Which in a round about way takes me back to my current stab at the writerly craft. Not even braving a working title yet, too busy trying to get everyone’s story lined up so they can all play nice with each other before they start lobbing novabombs or what have you. Mostly in the research phase right now – I don’t want it to be dry and overly done, but I’d like to at least be able to say things right 🙂 But writing has begun, slowly, as my poor wife will attest.