Monday, September 24, 2012

Done by Summer's End - Week Seven


I'm closing in, kids. The end is in sight. Last night I finished up about half of Chapter 17. I may be able to finish up the rest of it tonight, and if not by tonight, then at least by tomorrow as the last half also has to do with a lot of already written stuff. And once that's done?

There's only one chapter left, people.

One. Chapter 18. The wrap-up, as they say. The denouement, if you want to be fancy-pantsy, or otherwise known around here as Easy-peesy Lemon Squeezy...


At least, I hope so. It should go well.

I say that because I've known the ending for a long time now. Ever since I started, to be honest with you. It's familiar territory. It's pretty classic. Victories and sacrifices, an ending for some characters, a beginning for others. It closes down this story and maybe opens up the possibility of future ones.

So that's good news.

Plus, I've been devoting an used section of my head to the pondering of some of the potential second draft questions I'll probably be encountering and the good news with that is, the poor bastards back there in the dark, toiling away on that problem, have started to send up flares, bright arcing bursts of inspiration. Sometimes it's nothing, but sometimes... Well, none of it is anything I'm ready to talk about just quite yet, it's all pretty nebulous still, but it's promising, I'll say that, maybe even radical, shifting even... at least, as far as the current narrative is concerned. Either way, I'm starting to feel a little better about the possibility of this WIP making it through its hoops and stages and maybe eventually taking a shot at becoming a real live book.

Fingers crossed.

Not to be outdone, the Rebel Clever Girl advance/exploratory crew that have been working diligently in a separate section of my head, shaping and querying, wondering and plotting, have been sending up idea flares of their own for the big desk in the front of my brain to examine and reject, or maybe to write down and stare at, stroking the words lovingly as I imagine the possibilities. In just the past few days, a pair of new characters have taken shape and have managed to find a way to click neatly in with the main characters and the general idea of the plot. All very nice and right and looking tight and on purpose. So that's feeling strong, at the moment, and I'm excited to see what it looks like on paper finally.

Which is the best news, of course--to come full circle--because I am near the end of this current WIP and once I finish up Chapters 17 and 18 here in the next week or so and my Shitty First Draft is finally done, I'll get my chance at last.


I can't wait. Stick around, see what happens.

Jon

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Residency Protocol

The fifth and final season of Fringe starts Friday 9/28/12. I am going to watch the hell out of it. Yes, yes, suckmeister-extraordinaire Akiva Goldsman has been often too involved of late (even a little is too much), but it's usually just in a Consulting Producer capacity, so hopefully his touch from here until the end of the show will be minimal.

Hopefully.

I've been watching this show from the beginning (or close enough) and I'd hate for it to completely crash now that we've entered the home stretch. Besides, I'm too eager to see where they're going with this dystopian future to stop now. Yes, William Bell is most likely gone forever now and the two universes have been permanently separated, most likely, for forever, but there's a larger problem. The Observers have revealed themselves to be Conquerors from a far-flung future where the Earth has become uninhabitable. Those black hat bastards have murdered most of the world's population and enslaved those that remain. It is an oppressive time, one without hope. The Fringe team, recently released from a desperate and self imposed suspended animation within a block of amber, have awakened as rebels.

It is a dark and ugly world they return to. They are strangers in a strange land.

Here's a teaser:



And while I will no doubt miss Bolivia's swagger, Walternate's cool menace and Agent Lincoln Lee (both versions), I do love a good Big Brother future dystopia. A nice trade-off, especially when there are liberal doses of super science and super powers thrown in. I'm excited, Fringe turned out to be a great show that I want to see go out on top, something the creators don't exactly excel at... but well, here's hoping, should be fun. Hopefully. Though, to be honest, I'm a little concerned about the fates of both Gene the cow and the Observer known as September.

Gene is probably dead, I suppose... that's sad.
Jon


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Hobbit

Well, well, well, what a fine thing to find this morning. Have you seen it? I've posted it below, if you want to skip ahead and just go watch it, I'll understand.

It looks great, suitably epic, dark and dangerous and yet obviously maintaining its generally lighter tone, just great. I am ready. Now, I realize I may be setting myself up for a big fall, but I can't help it, I'm excited. Honestly, I haven't looked forward to a film this much, with this much faith in the creators' combined abilities to put out a really great product since the time before the Great Letdown of '99 by He who will not be Named. Is that scary? Yes. I'd be a fool if I didn't realize the potential for a massive heartbreak here, and yet... I am undeterred. I want it to work so bad, so much. It's my most anticipated film of the year. Yes, I loved the Avengers, but before I saw it, the potential screw-ups far outweighed the potential to be good. There was no way I hoped, no way, because there was no way it was going to work. No way. I was cautious. Everyone was cautious. But they did it. It worked. In every way I could have ever wanted, it worked.

But it was a total surprise that it did.

This film...?

I can't be cautious. I have loved the books forever and the Lord of the Rings films? They were exactly how they were supposed to be. If this film works, and with everything I've seen so far I have no reason to believe it won't, it will easily take the first spot and unseat Avengers for my favorite of the year. Is it unfair to assume that the top two slots in my list are already very easily filled? No. No, of course not. That's ridiculous, it's my list, who cares? But to humor you... I'd still say no, there's too much history between the two franchises and myself, if they're well done, if they're done right, then there's no way I can't love them.

And I can't wait to love this film.


"A box without hinges, key, or lid, yet golden treasure inside is hid..."
- Bilbo Baggins, beneath the Goblin Tunnels, deep within the Misty Mountains

Jon

Monday, September 17, 2012

Done by Summer's End - Week Six


Progress, kids.

That was this past week's theme. Progress. Big time. In the past week, I have finished Chapters 15 and 16 and I have started Chapter 17. It was a 5000 word plus writing weekend here at the ol' homestead, which is a fine output by any standard, but considering that I'm in my final push, it's all the more awesome. Even better news is that this is what I was hoping would happen. These last two finished chapters and a good chunk of two remaining ones have all been written before, for the most part, so a good chunk of this end-run has been inserting and editing, heavily editing. It's not an ideal way to go about it, but it's basically what I'm looking to do/say anyway, and as a result is really helping me finish up, which is the only real goal at the moment: Finish the draft. At the very least, it's a well formed place holder. Whichever way it turns out, for the time being, I'm driving on.

Finish, that's the goal.

So, for those of you keeping score at home, with these two chapters finished, that means I have a little less than two chapters left before the shitty first draft is actually done. That means there's a week left, maybe two.

Something I am very much looking forward to.


Once the shitty first draft is officially done (not too long now...), my plan is to set it aside for about a month or so. I want it to stew a bit before I dive back in. I want it to settle. This is mostly because, at the moment, I'm not the biggest fan of the thing, so I need some space. Also, I realize that whether or not it survives to the point where I attempt to shove it out into the light of day and try to make it be something is wholly dependant upon my second draft. There are themes that need to be drawn out. There are scenes that need to be added, major scenes. There are a characters that will probably get excised completely. And there are a myriad of general setting and detail issues to iron out, not too mention your usual plethora of niggling little common problems lurking among the text. All this stuff has to be fixed before I start bugging my Beta Readers.

In a nutshell, I have a lot of work ahead of me before this book could ever be considered anywhere close to maybe becoming a real thing. The bottom line is: I don't want it to fail and if I dive back in right away, it will. I've dragged this thing to the finish line, if I abandon it at this point, then it's all been for nothing, just a waste of time. Sure, sure... learning experience, but standing at the end of 9 to 10 long months of writing... that and a couple of bucks will buy you a cup of coffee, dig?

So I'm going to walk away from it for a couple weeks and hopefully when I come back, I'll be able to work on it with some fresh eyes. Plus, hopefully I'll be able to nail down a real title.

That's the plan at least.

And while it's cooling, I'm going to dip my toes into this other project I've had rolling around in my head for awhile now and test the waters out. The idea is, by the time I'm ready to go back and start 2nd Drafting, I'll have a couple of sample chapters down for this new thing, plus a more concrete sketch of the story arc. Here's hoping, anyway...

Right now the new project is called: Rebel Clever Girl. Here's a barrage of potential imagery:



New worlds beckon,
Jon

Monday, September 10, 2012

Done by Summer's End - Week Five

Two weeks into September, two weeks past the end of August, the end of summer, and I still have three and a half chapters to go. I may have over-estimated how much work I could get done. I may have made a little bit of a miscalculation... just a little...

"everybody remember where we parked..."

But as they say, the best laid plans, yadda, yadda, yadda, rabbits...

The good news is that I finished about a third of Chapter 15 this weekend and I expect to finish the rest of it by the end of this week. I'm anticipating less resistance in general for the remainder of the next two chapters, as the bulk of them were written during the initial short story way back when. I don't intend to use the original work as is, of course, I will be adjusting and tweeking and rewriting, tossing some sections, keeping others. I assume it will be more like editing than writing, but oh well. Regardless, these old sections should go a long way towards speeding up my goal of completing my shitty first draft finally, a moment I am very much looking forward to. After that, there's only one full chapter and one final half chapter/epilogue left to complete, which means I may be able to salvage this project after all just by simply pushing it back along the calendar and changing the name to: Done by September's End.

Woooo! Easy victory! Wooo!

Other than that, hmmmm, let's see... Huh, I guess that's it for now. Well alrighty then.

Tune in next week, kids!
Jon

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas is a novel from 2004 by David Mitchell. I had never heard of it until recently. I just started reading it.


And it's pretty great.

Cloud Atlas is the type of novel where the first chapter or two takes a bit to get underway, kind of like the slow climb at the beginning of a roller coaster. Up, up, up, up, and all the while you can catch glimpses beyond the high hill of track before you, glimpses of corkscrew twists, hard-banked curves and screaming loop-de-loops. You can feel it coming, just past the crest and the swath of blue sky above, and even though it can seem slow at first, that's part of the draw, part of the anticipation as it draws you in, closer and closer and closer, right up to the edge and over.

Then you plunge...

I am really enjoying it.

So, what's it about?

It's difficult to say, really. Partially because I have only just started the book not too long ago, but also because it is an epic and sprawling tale and an odd one too. The structure is a big part of it, as are the different voices. I guess it would be fair to say that it is about how everything is connected. It concerns multiple time lines and multiple settings and the echos of peoples lives reverberating down through time. It takes place on a ship in the Pacific in the 1850s, in Belgium in 1931, in California in 1975, in present day England, in a not so distant cyber-punk future in Korea, and a post apocalyptic Hawaii. And it's all connected. The stories interweave and influence and depend upon each other. But that's not quiet right or quite complete either. There's more.

Remember I did just start it.


How did I stumble across it, you ask?

Well, I was about to dive into House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (which is also supposed to be pretty amazing) when I first started to hear about Cloud Atlas. It was recommended by a couple of acquaintances and when I said I'd check it out after House of Leaves, most of the responses from people who have read both said "read this one first". So here I am. The reason the book had come up in the first place though was due to the fact that Lana and Andy Wachowski (The Matrix) and Tom Twyker (Run, Lola, Run) have decided to tackle the project and turn what is largely considered to be unfilmable into a big-time, big budget movie, one that looks amazing.

Here's a barrage of imagery.










Crazy and weird and incongruous, right? How does it all link together? Will it work? Honestly, the initial film festival reviews have differed wildly. It seems the film will be a pretty divisive one as no one appears to be ambivalent about it, it's a love it or hate it kind of deal. I've read vehement dismissals which called the film the worst thing ever done in the history of humanity, just as often as I've read that it's the best and most audacious film made by a human being ever. Interesting, interesting, interesting. It all makes me intensely curious.

Aren't you? You should be. That last photo? That's Hugh Grant.

Let's watch the trailer.


Wow, man. Right? Looks amazing. I can't wait. This is one of those films that snuck up on me. Almost no warning, almost no anticipation and then-BOOM-right in my lap and it looks incredible. I really hope it works. I really do. Cloud Atlas hits theatres on October 26th, 2012

Be there or be square,
Jon

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Done by Summer's End - Week Four

Short work week.

Four day weekend.

Poor writing output all around.


That's Week Four in a nutshell. Lots of reasons why. Family visits. Sudden holidays. Interesting TV shows. A seething hatred for my current WIP and a general malaise as the universe rubs my nose in the success of others. A resulting lack of motivation. Whatever it was, I didn't get much done this week.


It's frustrating, but I think these moments happen.

And besides, this week will be better. The Scribblerati are meeting tonight. Always fun. Schedule-wise I should have time to catch up on stuff this week. Plus -- silver lining -- I did make some good notes on that other idea that's been nagging at me. Some names, some plot points, some themes, and a couple of little moments. I am really liking the stuff the slow boil I have that thing on is bringing up, should be a good time, once I get to it. Also, I may have made some key decisions regarding the necessity of certain POVs and characters and whatnot, yadda, yadda, yadda, all in preparation for the 2nd draft of my current WIP, so that's good.

Downside? Still no title. I have a working title, but it's shit. I'm totally not keeping it, but nothing else has occurred to me yet, which tells me I haven't quite cracked the story, to be honest. On the other hand, I totally came up with a good starting title for that other thing that is currently on the slow boil bubbling away all interestingly and shit...

REBEL CLEVER GIRL

Eh? Eh? Whatta ya' think? Eh? I like it. I like it a lot. I like the sound and the shape and the taste and the look of it. I like it. Electric. Exciting. I'm into it.


Ok, so... to re-focus, this week I have Chapter 15 to put down and then I'll dig into 16. Big moments. Key moments of the book. No problem. I'll get that done.

Also, note to self: Come up with a fucking title.

Writing, amirite?
Jon