Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2017 - Updates and Beyond!

In perhaps the most 2016-ish ending of the year 2016, I meant to get this post up a couple of days ago as a kind of Year-end Wrap-up post, but shit happened, and well... 2016, amirite? So here we are, shivering in the cold, standing in the rain-sodden, burnt-out wreckage of the old year, watching the blood red sun of 2017 rise in the distance.

Will 2017 be as much of a mother fucker as its predecessor? Will it be worse?


But, well, for now, there's nothing to be done about that except tend the fires, reinforce our defenses, and keep our eyes on the far horizon, ever watchful for raiders and attacking monsters.

In the meantime, let's get to it...


So, when we last met up to discuss the current state of Jon, it was nearly November, in the now long gone year of 2016, and I was about to embark on that great literary adventure known as The National Novel Writing Month--or as it's known by its much more stupid acronym: NaNoWriMo--and you'll probably remember that I had very high hopes, too. 50,000 words in just one month? No problem. Right? I can do that. Easy-peasy, Lemon-squeezey.

It's at this point that I'll remind you it is no longer November, nor the year 2016...

Long story short? Complete failure. I didn't make it. 50,000 words? Try 11,289. Just a little bit short. But here's the thing, it's not my fault, I swear. That 11, 289 words? That was basically the first week, and then, as I'm sure you'll remember, the beginning of the end of the world happened. That whole debacle really threw off my rhythm for a few days. I'm sure you all understand that, after all, it was a really dark time for all of us out there with souls.

And then the worst happened... 

My laptop died.

This has happened before... a couple of times. I wouldn't say that I have "bad luck" with laptops, in fact, I prefer to think of it more like, my previous laptops were unable to maintain my exacting standards. It's the sad state modern day electronics, I'm afraid, people. Anyway, luckily, Santa recognized how good I was this year, and brought me a brand spanking new one, so now we're getting back on track!

Excited? I know I am. The keyboard lights up!

Y'see, here's the upside, NaNoWriMo wasn't a complete failure. Those 11, 289 words of my Work in Progress (WIP) are actually more like 13,225 now. Granted, that's not a lot of words between the second week of November 2016, and now, the first week of January 2017, but as you'll recall, my laptop was dead, and the point is... my WIP from NaNoWriMo lives. It's actually kind of strong, strong enough that I'm going to keep at it. In fact, I plan on having a Shitty First Draft done by the end of February, (hopefully) which, sitting here now, feels a little like a padded estimate, honestly. The long and the short of it goes like this: I know where it starts. I know where it ends, and I think I've got a clear narrative order-of-events all the way through to the end, in my head. And best of all, I'm excited to get it down. It'll be crappy, of course, but that's what First Drafts are for, right? Right.

"So, what's this new one about, Jon?"

Well! I'm glad you asked, Dear Reader... Right now, the new book is called Hellevator.

I know, I know, it's a really shitty name, but working titles are meant as placeholders. They're not permanent. I'll worry about a better one later. Horse, then cart, people. Horse, then cart. The basic idea of the book is it's an adventure through an alternate hell dimension that bleeds over into the modern world. It's a quest not unlike the story of Orpheus, but with endless trench warfare, heroes of legend, giant monsters, secret societies, and the occasional sexting.

Here's the synopsis I whipped up for my NaNoWriMo account. It's an early, not quite correct, and poorly written version, but much like Shitty First Drafts and Working Titles... Horse, then cart, right?

Bodhi Nixon liked a boy, a boy she met on-line. They made plans to meet for the first time in real life, and she was so excited. However, before they could meet, the boy wanted to try out a dare he found on a website, a kind of ritual, something to do with an elevator, a silly little urban legend that supposedly takes you to another world. They laughed about it. It was just Internet nonsense, except now the boy is missing, and everyone's asking questions, the police are asking questions, and even though Bodhi thinks she knows where he is, she knows no one would believe her if she told them. So now it's up to her to find him, but to do so, she needs an elevator.

After that... shit gets weird.

Anyway, I'll be spending the next few months working on that.

Fingers crossed.

Here are two things that went really, really well this year, and ended up setting a trend for myself that I wasn't aware of until I needed it. The first happened this summer, when it was hot and humid and ugly as hell here in Minnesota, basically not the time of year to be lifting heavy objects in the sweltering upstairs attic-room, but there I was, and while laboring away installing the air conditioner, I discovered I had very neatly stored away the random bits and pieces and screws all the previous year, which made the whole thing that much easier. Good on me! The second thing happened just a few days before Christmas, when, upon opening the dusty box stored in the back of the front closet, I discovered that during the Christmas tear-down last year, I had carefully wrapped each string of lights and stored them in such a way so that they weren't tangled at all! How conscientious of me, right? That's how responsible I am, people. I exhibited very adult-like behavior, all without prodding, and you know what? You can't teach that. Pure inherent instinct. And it was this inherent sense of responsibility that led me to discover that, despite my computer going belly up, I still managed to keep pretty much all of my writing. I used my Google Drive, people! I actually used it! Who would've expected that? I was just... so damn proud of myself.

So yeah, good news... I kept most of my writing.

Most, at least, but not all. The one thing I did lose? My Top Twenty Favorite Films of All Time list. Poof! Gone. And it was nearly done too...

What a pain in the ass... But, I've started to rebuild it, and came up with a list of forty-some titles pretty quickly. So, I will be working on that again, but it's a slow process, probably not as slow as last time, but it will probably still be awhile until the list is ready again.

That's all right though, I've got plenty of other things to keep me occupied. I've got several posts on deck, some short film stuff, some movies I'm looking forward to this year, some bits on my writing process maybe, stuff like that. And before you get too worried, let me reassure you, there will be no more fan film posts. Zero. I did have some more saved, but... I just can't. Those god damn Star Wars fan films were so bad, they broke me.

Never again. I am only human.

So, other than that stuff, in the coming weeks, look for my Best Films of 2016 list, and my Best Comics of 2016 list. In fact, I'm hoping to have those two done this week... Maybe the following week. We'll see. Not because I'm lazy though, at least not totally, in a year made up of mountains of shit, it was actually a pretty decent year for films and comics, so I have a lot of different titles to choose from. The good news is, I'm almost done. I'm a little behind on seeing/reading some of them though, so I'm just hoping I can squeeze out a little more time to catch up before committing, so... hmmm... the end of this week. Definitely. No later than next week. Maybe.

And that's it. That's my intention for 2017, or at least the first part.

Fingers crossed,

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