Sunday, December 30, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
First, the photo. Now, this was done when my hair was still blond, and in that murky gray time before my first coffee. Why else would I look like some sort of carnival worker/serial killer? :-)
Okay, now, a little monkeying around and the Tiny Dynamo said, "That looks just like you!"
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
I pretty much turned all the dials up to 'eleven' and snapped off the lever Tuesday and Wednesday. There were a couple-odd hours of sleep in there, and I may have eaten. Not entirely sure. What I do know is that I wrote a little less than 20,000 words in that period, including two of my favorites: The End.
As always here at Full Throttle Productions, hard work is rewarded. I had a nice glass of champagne, smoked a lovely Cuban cigar (they're legal here but this'll be the only one for me this year), had a *much* needed shower and shave and went to bed for many, many hours.
For their invaluable assistance, I'd like to thank the good folks at iPod.
(That's not photoshopped-- I got free laser engraving by ordering online!)
Tomorrow: Simpsons fun!
Monday, December 10, 2007
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Right now I'm soooo close to the Final Showdown.
But I've got all these notes about things that need to happen, and things that need to change.
I've got a couple of REALLY important plot points to change.
So I've gone back to the beginning and am doing a rapid rework. And I do mean rapid: roughly 10-20,000 words a day. My word count is staying about the same, mainly because I rip out almost as much as I put in.
Being so close to the end is the best place to see the beginning. And to tighten any flab from the middle. Also, tomorrow or the next day, when I *do* finally reach the Final Showdown again, I'll hit it with the momentum of a runaway bloody freight train!
Synchronicity: After staggering to bed at 1.30 last night (back up 5, but that was Butler's fault), I decided to 'chillax' with Joyce Carol Oates' Faith of a Writer. The essay I picked, Miss JCO talked about doing just the same thing I am, and for just the same reasons.
Oddly, that makes me feel better.
And for anyone who wonders about life with the Tiny Dynamo, I did do an 18"x48" painting on a break from writing yesterday!
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Five pounds lighter...
Twenty hours of sleep total...
The work stands at 68,238 words.
Events took some unexpected turns. Things that baffled me (why is that girl Irish? Why is she in here at all? What's with the horses?) have become clear. An encounter I'd been expecting the whole book never materialized. There are notes scattered through the text telling me what I need to add earlier...
The final showdown is underway.
The end is so close I can taste it.
Oddly, the Minor Bastard is still alive. I'm starting to wonder if he'll make it through the whole book. For that matter, I'm kind of wondering about the Hero and the Main Bastard as well. Both are more resourceful than I would have thought, and nothing is as simple as it seems.
I'm not quite finished, but I *am* having the time of my life!
Of course, once I'm finally done, I do plan to sleep for a week. That too will be most enjoyable!
In other news, the birthday was much fun.
The Tiny Dynamo provided me with some very nice gifts and a truly ginormous chocolate cake!
After all, I do have some missing kilos to put back on....
Saturday, November 24, 2007
I'm just going outside and may be some time. Though hopefully not as long as that nice Titus Oates...
Like that kid on the left there, I've got a daunting task. But hey, slugging out of my weight is practically second nature.
I've also got some kind of summer cold/virus. Given that I thought I saw a white horse in the back yard just now, I may have a bit of a fever as well...
At any rate, my only prayer of finishing this beast involves unplugging the modem. I do promise to check back in on the 3rd and let you all know how everything went.
Meantime, here's a painting by Robert Bailey with a title close to my heart!
Rest assured that this week will indeed be spent at full throttle!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
The turkey: Biggest turkey I could find was 14lbs. That one was $90. I settled for an 11lb. bird for $60. The Tiny Dynamo was spitting tacks.
Cranberries: Apparently only grow in America. Or something. One market in the city center carried some jars of Ocean Spray. I snapped up what I needed.
I do love cooking, much to the Tiny Dynamo's surprise. Thing is, I lack her flair and artistry in the kitchen. That and my 'risk tolerant' personality have barred me from cooking for her!
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Right now, my Main Bastard has really found his groove. He's fiercely loyal to the Minor Bastard. He's charismatic in his way, a good friend.
He's also sadistic, murderous and terrifying. He moves through a world of pleasure, victims and opportunity. Pity anyone or anything the Main Bastard catches weak and alone.
Killing isn't enough for the Main Bastard. For some reason, he loves to play with his victims. He reenacts his triumphs with the dead bodies until the game bores him.
It's only a matter of time before he begins his search again.
It's his nature. Taking prey, he feels alive.
The Tiny Dynamo finds my work violent and dark. She often wonders where those terrible ideas come from.
Somehow, I don't think she'd believe me if I told her:
His fluffy, pretend victims aren't enough. He brought another bird in the house last night.... Gotta love him, though!
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Official Semi-Daily Wordcount-o-Meter:
Monday, November 5, 2007
Saturday, November 3, 2007
For the first time in almost a decade, I'll be celebrating Thanksgiving. You see, not only is the fourth Thursday in November not a holiday here, unlike the US, a mammoth bird doesn't sell for $10-20. Oh, no. No, no no no.... A turkey that would have an American family giving you evil looks, here in New Zealand that bad boy goes for over sixty bucks!
At those prices, once a decade will probably suit me. :-)
At any rate, in honor of the approaching holiday, let's all revisit the Turkey City Lexicon. Solid, timeless advice on what NOT to do...
I'm determined to finish this damned thing by my birthday!
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Action Technique #2:
Break It Down Now: Probably the most common way of showing action in fiction. Also the easiest to screw up.
The basic idea is simple. As the action heats up, our description of it slows down. We break everything into individual steps, stacking them one on top of the other. The reader (hopefully) gets a clear idea of what's going on. The writer gets to spend time getting deep into the most exciting parts of the book.
I think this technique is so popular because it intuitively mimics the effects of adrenalin on the human nervous system. Our time sense distorts. Memory scrambles. Perception sharpens.
"You shouldn't be here," Bob said.
Sylvia took a half step closer. Bob felt the heat of her breath curl in the hollow of his throat.
Neither touched. The moment stretched, widened, spun out of control.
They fell together, growling. His hands were strong and knowing. Her tongue was hot and quick, her teeth sharp.
Lee Child may well be the current king of this method. He's certainly a damn sight better than I am. (I tend to be real sparing with this method, so it's not my strong suit.) Pick up any of Child's books, and you'll see the simple act of racking a slide and pulling a trigger, or of throwing a punch, pared down to tiny fractions of a second. Often with long lectures on physics!
Thing is, when *he* does it, it works. :-)
When it doesn't work, it falls flat. Your big action scene lies dead on the floor.
So, how do we make it work?
1. Choose the *right* details. This is the heart of storytelling talent, and it may be the one thing no one can tell you. Best advice I can give is to stay tight in your POV character's head and, no matter how tempting, do not use a detail your character would not notice.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Also, be sure that you're clear enough to your target audience about what happened. The Tiny Dynamo *loves* the Bridget Jones movies (yet she likes me anyway - go figure), but it wasn't until we watched the director's commentary that she found out Bridget had anal sex with Daniel Cleever. That particular item was handled too subtly for her innocent ears to pick up.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Official Word-o-Meter Day 4 Word Count: 6621 words
As readers of this blog may remember, I was, for a considerable portion of this current WIP, reduced to writing with a quill pen.
Yup. Dip. Scritch scritch scritch. Dip. Scritch, scritchscritch. etc.
Well, the quills are back in the art supplies now were they belong. That drawing in the top right corner was done with a quill. But writing with one? Let's just say, some things are obsolete for a reason...
These days, my method has changed a bit. So far, it's working for me. Finding out it worked 3000 words' worth was a surprise,but a happy one.
My newest method:
I keep a pen and paper with me and 'sketch' out scenes. Quick notes, in present tense to keep me from taking it too seriously and 'binding up' on word choice and language. Sometimes, I hear dialogue, or that telling detail of imagery swims right up. I jot 'em down. Otherwise, I just kind of loosely walk the characters through their conflicts and challenges.
Mostly, I do this at night. But I keep the tools with me, just in case. Yesterday, I sketched out a fine scene while the Tiny Dynamo shopped for shoes. I'd been thinking about it while we were at the supermarket. Basically, no scrap of time goes to waste.
When it's 'writing time', I sit down with the laptop in my, well, lap and my sketched notes in front of me. Now, I'm listening to imagery and language and what, exactly, is going on in the scene.
Kane was up with the dawn. Hostel dorm beds were the same the world over. Thin mattress and squeaking bedsprings, other backpackers turning lights on and off or stumbling drunken in the dark. Between the loud wet snoring and the faint smells of vomit from the bunk below him, Kane’s sleep was fitful.
Finally, he quit trying. Kane climbed down from his bunk, took his pack out of its locker and dressed in the dark. At a small market on Frankton Road, he paid too much for apples and cheese, nuts and french bread and a bottle of water. The mountain air was still watery and gray when Kane walked into the hills.
Midmorning, Kane stopped. He took his rest on a flat rock, warm in the sun and sheltered from the wind. The cheese was sharp and strong, the apples crisp and tart. Overhead, hawks circled, riding the thermals, hunting.
After a time, Kane moved deeper into the autumn forest. Leaves were turning all around him: yellow and gold and orange and brown and splashes of deep brilliant red. He hit a path and followed it. Bright leaves and dappled trunks gave way to stunted alpine scrub and harsh cold sunlight.
Faint scallops were visible in the grass. Deer, passing through. Past the ridgeline, the tracks descended into the forest shadows.
Kane felt at peace.
Now, careful readers might notice this scene breaks one of my own main rules: there's no conflict. Fair cop, guv. Guilty as charged. But I feel this scene is necessary for three reasons:
1. Pacing: We need a little rest between to high-tension plot points.
2. Characterization: Kane's a solitary man. One of the best quick and dirty shortcuts to charcterization is to put your character in a fitting environment and say 'he's like this place'.
3. Foreshadowing: I'm not sure how this story ends, but I do know that Kane needs to be comfortable outdoors, and a decent tracker, too.
And, this is the first draft. Before this thing is done, I may well have a scene that does all three of these things *and* throws in some conflict too!