Sunday, October 26, 2008

Everybody sing...

Five more days 'til Halloween...Sil-ver Shamrock

We spent the day at the Springs Preserve, a desert-eco museum located on the site of the original springs that brought settlers to the Las Vegas valley for the first time thousands of years ago. Neat place, and to make it even cooler, they had it decorated for Halloween. They did some kind of Halloween show after sundown, but... reality calls--laundry to do, grocery shopping beckons, Amy has homework, and we were tired of walking.

I'm about halfway through Cormac McCarthy's The Road. What an amazing book. I've never read his work before, but he is obviously one of these authors that makes other authors question their choice of vocation. He breaks the rules in a way that makes me want to re-write everything I've ever written (until the realization sets in that I could never do it as well as him and I'm best off plodding along on my current route).

I was up until midnight last night finishing my third draft of a story for the Cafe Doom contest (thanks for the heads-up, Cate). I'm kind of nervous putting my work out for peer-review (peer here meaning people much more experienced than I). It was a fun break, but now its time to bury my head into Mojave once again. Kind of funny, but I read or saw several things today at the museum that may make their way into Mojave; I'm actually writing the book using Google Earth to lay out the geography of the story and the journey of the MC, and seeing the geographic history of this valley helped me think in those terms. I thought it would be fun if, knock on wood, Mojave was published, I could put out a kmz file (Google Map overlay) with info on the story, kind of a Tolkein-esque map of the story.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Mojave Update and Advice from the Past

No new news, really, but in keeping in the habit of updating my bloggy-dee-dum...

1. Just cracked 9100 words on Mojave. Been a fun story so far and have kept momentum, although finding time to write between family and work continues to be a struggle...sound familiar? I just wrote a class of monster (what is this, D&D?) that actually gives me the willies to think about. That's pretty cool.

2. Saw Shaun of the Dead Saturday night-- Best. Movie. Ever.

3. I'm going to try and resist cheating and submitting Mojave to NaNoWriMo (hopefully well past 25k words by 11/1), but I definitely won't be starting a new project. In thinking about NaNoWriMo, I remembered some of the well-timed emails they sent out last year with advice from people who make a living at this game. As this seems to be the Year of Neil Gaiman, I thought I'd reminisce on Neil's helpful advice for the midpoint of a novel, posted at NaNoWriMo.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Career Perspective

In the latter half of 2008, the only really good thing left about working for a Large Global Bank©, other than just having a paycheck, is all of the paid holidays. Today being Columbus Day in the U.S., I was able to (mostly) resist the urge to fire up my company laptop and work, and wrote for a good chunk of the day (in between naps, playing guitar, and helping the kids with homework). It was rare and nice.

After a couple of weeks of dryness, I just broke 5300 words on my Vegas story on the third day of writing (Mojave is the working title), and it seems to be going well. I've spent a few sleepless nights the past week thinking about the storyline and characters, and I think I have a grip on what it is I'm trying to tell. Mostly. I'm trying to be mindful of telling a strong story, and not just describing stuff and having people talk and all of the "wouldn't-it-be-cool" moments of this world I'm knitting. I was tempted, but I didn't want to wait for NaNoWriMo...I needed to get moving on this. Hopefully I can keep momentum and finish a draft before I loses me mojo...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Dangers of Nyquil

After 4 days, Clearing was jettisoned by Clarkesworld with a form letter...yesterday, I submitted a query letter for Clearing to Abandoned Towers, got a positive response, submitted the story, and just now received another positive response from the sub editor, saying it "seemed well written and put together with nice clean dialogue" and has passed it on to the editorial group...not an acceptance, but I'll take it, even with the word seemed attached. That makes me happy.

I'm sick yet again, and had to choke back some Nyquil, mostly so that my poor wife can sleep through my gasping and choking and coughing. Since Sunday, I have been thinking through a story that really sounds fun (I'll share more as I progress, but kind of a what-if story around the proposed nuclear waste dump in Yucca Mountain just north of Vegas)...but, as I dig more into this story, it has to be a full length thing--at least 50-70k words. Which is daunting, as I'm yet to complete anything that long. Last night, in a diphenhydramine daze, I dreamt chunks of the storyline, which makes me even more excited to work on it. I don't want to blow this, so I'm going to take a few more days of outlining and character development before I start work.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Wandering through the desert

Three updates...

Update the First: One of the neat things about living in Vegas is the close proximity to Utah (as much as it sounds like the setup to a joke, I'm being sincere). Shortly after moving here four years ago, we discovered the Shakespeare Festival about 2.5 hours from here in Cedar City, and after our first season of watching plays there, we were hooked. I spent all day there Saturday, and saw a fine but slightly off-center version of Julius Caesar (set in modern day, but still spoken from the original text and language of Shakespeare), and a mind-blowing Victorian-era murder mystery called Gaslight which, for someone who spends a lot of time thinking about storytelling and dark fiction, was almost a religious experience. I knew I would have hours spent alone during the trip, so I picked up the audiobook for Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, and am about six hours in. What a great story.

Update the Second: the first re-write of Clearing was ousted by GUD, who said it "wasn't what they were presently looking for"...not very specific, so it's off to Clarkesworld without any edits.

Update the Third: I'm kind of struggling with my next project. I have two of three stories in mind that don't completely excite me, and have started picking through the bones of projects never finished. I've commited to picking a project and pushing through by tomorrow night. Between Gaslight and Neverwhere, the juices are flowing today, and I don't think I'll have a problem settling on a project soon.