Friday, April 30, 2010

Did I Redeem Myself?

Yesterday was nearly as bad as the day before was. Too many things needed my attention. I did, however, manage to find about fifteen or twenty minutes to put in on my story. I'm now up to 4476 words, 383 more words than yesterday. Hey, I said it was only fifteen minutes or so.



I think today will be better. Things are looking up.

At Last

Today is the first day that I am allowed to eat a full allotment of calories again. I lost about 20 lbs. on the diet. It was less than my goal, but it is nothing to scoff at. I look and feel a lot better. Now my goal is to make sure that I don't gain it back. I'm going to get myself onto a good weight lifting regimen, because I want to see if I can get back some of the muscles that steadily converted to fat over the years.

I feel good enough about myself I may stop using the most recent episode's art as my facebook profile picture, and just stick my mug up there.

But let me tell you, I'm so happy to be able to eat a more regular diet.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Oh, The Shame!

Failure!

I didn't write yesterday, and I feel like a piece of crap for not making it happen. Yesterday was, admittedly, a very difficult day. I never really had even fifteen minutes of spare time. When the day came to a close, I decided that if I didn't get moving on the podcast for this week, it wouldn't get done on time, so I spent the evening doing that, figuring that I'd write just before bed. But then bed time came, and I was tired, and I stumbled off without even giving writing a second thought.

I did, however think a lot about the story yesterday, which was needed. I had written a sort of outline before starting, and then I accidentally deleted it. I feel like I'm getting to the edge of what I can do without an outline. If I go on too much longer, I'll have to go back and rewrite a lot for it to work. There's already one part that I'll have to do that with, and I don't want to have to do it too much more. So, I may spend a day or two on that.

I also managed to sort out the title. I think, instead of calling it Megatron, like I had originally planned, it will now be called "Prime." Yes it comes from the same source, but this new title will allow me to work it in in a way that doesn't completely steal a registered trademark. And it will help me establish a plot point even further. So, from here on out, the story is titled, "Prime."

And I promise to write tonight, even before editing on the show. I will write for a half hour, scout's honor.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Quick Update

Wrote again yesterday. It's funny, I thought I'd barely written at all on Monday, and did more yesterday, but according to my word-count-o-meter I actually wrote more words on Monday. Weird. Anyway, that's my quick update.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Back At It

People said they weren't annoyed by the endless updates on writing, and encouraged me to continue, so I guess I'll keep doing it.

I took the weekend off. Which I probably will do most weeks, unless I'm really moved to do more writing some Saturday or Sunday afternoon. But Monday, I was back at it. Monday is a hard day for writing, because it's the day that Rish and I get together to podcast. We work on the show all night, and by the time Rish leaves, it's so late that there's nothing to do but go to bed. So if I don't go straight to bed, I'll regret it. That means that I better get my writing in earlier, in my spare time, or I won't get it at all.

Yesterday, I got a little bit in. Not as much as I'd like. I didn't even finish a whole scene, but my word count has made it to 3440. Today I will be able to do a little more. We'll see what I do with that time. I need to put in some time on the podcast as well, or it will never make it. It is a really long story this time around.

Friday, April 23, 2010

What I'm Not Listening To

I've been a fan of Metallica for almost my entire life. In April, 1999, I heard that Metallica had teamed up with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra to perform a concert in which they played Metallica songs with orchestral accompaniment. I've always been into the mixing of music styles, so I thought that this would be really cool. When I finally heard it, however, I hated it. To me, it sounded like a complete mess. It was like Metallica had sneaked into a performance of the orchestra, set up their amps and started trying to compete with them.Rish and I were having a conversation about it last week. Sting is going to tour this summer with an orchestra, playing arrangements of his songs with the full orchestra joining in. Sting stands side by side with Metallica as the other number one music act in my life. However, I was a little hesitant to buy tickets to the show, because of how poorly that experiment had worked out with Metallica. Rish asked me what I thought of the combination of Ben Folds and the Western Australia Symphony Orchestra, because he thought that for the most part it had worked out great, with only a few songs that just didn't weren't right. I had no idea that such a collaboration had ever existed. I decided I'd better check it out.

I did, and I enjoyed it _a lot_. Maybe it's just that Ben Folds style works a lot better with an orchestra than a heavy metal band does. Sting's music, though, would probably be placed a lot closer to Ben Folds than Metallica in classification. The one thing I thought, as I listened to the Ben Folds concert, was that it would have been totally awesome to have been in the audience for this show. It would have been an experience to remember forever.That decided it for me. I was going to the show. So, on Monday, when Rish and I got together to podcast, I told him that I was going definitely. I was excited.

Then late yesterday night, Rish sent me a link to a news item on a website. Sting show was no longer coming through town. Scheduling conflicts had canceled our tour stop. Dammit, that would have been an experience to remember forever.

Day Three

I almost didn't do it. It was late, and I was ready for bed. I'd already posted the podcast, and then I remembered that I hadn't written yet. Grrrrrumble. I debated for several minutes, then I finally pulled out my file and started typing. Now I'm at 2,469 words. That's what, 900 more than yesterday. That's a good, productive half hour's work.



I think this story is going to be really long. In the end it'll probably be a Novella. 20,000 may be a low estimate. I need to get to the inciting incident pretty soon if I don't want it to be endless.

I was also thinking that these posts may get tiresome too. I think I might try loading the word counter into the sidebar somehow, and updating it daily there. That way I can post about something else once in a while. But if you notice that it's not going up every day, get on my case, please.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Two Days In A Row

Okay, I've managed to write two days in a row. That's something for me. If I can keep it up, maybe it'll become a habit.



On the negative side, I accidentally deleted the outline for my story out of my file yesterday, so I'll have to redo that. It wasn't all that fleshed out yet, so it needed work anyway. But yes, I know what you're thinking Announcer Man, and I am "such an idiot!"

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Coming Through

I promised and I came through. Last night I wrote for a half an hour, and got the first scene in my new story written. Now I just need to make it a habit. A half an hour a day isn't too much to ask. And more often than not, it'll probably turn into more than a half hour I bet. I managed to get 746 words written. And I think I did a fairly good job at showing rather than telling.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

One Out Of A Hundred

After all that talk that I'd made about the inspiring words that I'd read from Tobias Buckell, I made the goal to accumulate 100 rejection notices by the end of the year. That day, I took one of my stories and sent it off to Strange Horizons. Strange Horizons is one of my favorite places to go to read great science fiction, so naturally, I would love to be a part of what they have going on over there. However, the good folks at Strange Horizons informed me that I have more practicing to do before I am ready to join the ranks of the authors published on their site. It's, of course, as I suspected. Now I've got to get submitting some more stories, so that I can to my goal of 100. Off I go!

My tally:

1/100

Hard To Get Started

I finished that last story that I was working on something like eleven or twelve days ago now. My goal and plan was to jump straight into another project, and keep on moving towards the final destination of being a professional writer. After all, if I want to be a writer, I've got to practice writing.

For some reason, however, I've been stalled at the starting line, moving nowhere. I know what story I want to write, I know what it is I need to practice (showing not telling), so I should be able to just jump in and go, right?

Yet here I am more than a week later, and I still haven't started.

Rish and I got together last night to do our normal podcasting routine, and afterward, we always grill each other on how our writing is going. I had to admit, after all my gung-ho, here we go stuff I've been spewing on this blog that I hadn't written for more than a week. I felt like a hypocrite. So first thing this morning, I sat down at the computer, and started planning out the outline for my story. After putting a few minutes in on that, I'm now excited and raring to go on the actual writing. I think it still needs a little more planning before I go all the way, but I'm going to start writing the first scene today.

For years, I've called this story "Megatron," because I wanted to name one of the characters that. I don't think I'll be able to get away with that for real, since I do plan on sending the story out to magazines and so forth when I'm done with it. But on the blog, I'll continue to call it "Megatron". I expect this to be a longer story than anything else I've ever written before, something like 20,000 words. That's just a guess, but I'll use it on the wordcount-o-meter here, so you can all see where I'm at. If you catch me slacking, get on my back. The comments section is open.



Thanks. I'll report on the opening scene tomorrow.

Monday, April 12, 2010

An Unusual Kid

My sister's kid was at our house this weekend. She gets along really well with my youngest daughter. I took the kids to the park, and they were all playing, and suddenly, I hear my sister's kid yelling really loud at my daughter. Thinking I've got some kind of fight to break up, I head over there.

"Hey, what's going on?" I ask.

My sister's kid smiles and tells me she's pretending to be Black Canary. This kid is three, remember, and she's pretending to be Black Canary. I can't help but crack up laughing. I'd never heard of Black Canary until I was in my thirties. She's like a B or C-List DC character. How the freak does this three year old know Black Canary, and moreso, how does she know Black Canary well enough to pretend to be her while playing? Maybe there's some cartoon out there that Black Canary is a big part of? Because it's not like this three year old is reading the books, which is the only place I've ever seen Black Canary appear.

My sister's husband is a pretty big time comic book nerd. He's not a big nerd, but he is a big time comic nerd. He's turning all his kids into comic nerds too. It's funny, because he has three girls, but that hasn't stopped him. Instead, his girls pretend that Cinderella goes to the ball and she dances with Superman. It's always funny to see.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Practice Makes Perfect

I came across a link on Twitter the other day to writer Dean Wesley Smith's blog. He's been writing a how to write guide on the web and publishing it chapter by chapter. I've read a couple of the recent chapters, but this post hit me where it hurts. What he does is take myths that people believe about publishing, and debunks them. This is, of course, for the folks like me, who aren't published but would like to be, that need real advice and not wrong ideas to follow.

As I read through it, there was one idea that made the biggest impact. He says that writers need practice, which is something I've always understood, writers write, right? But then he said that tinkering, polishing, and reworking a story that you have already written is futile. The way you learn to write is to write, not tinker. Sure, fix the typos, but after that, send it off to editors to get rejected. Then, using their comments, write a new story, working on whatever it was they said you needed to improve. He calls it focused practicing. You should never write a story that doesn't have some kind of improvement you are focusing on.

I've started in on the whole practicing thing. As a matter of fact, I just finished writing the story that I mentioned a few weeks ago.



But now, I need to make sure that the practice I do is for a purpose. I need to get better at something with every story that I write. I'm not writing to get typing practice, but writing practice.

For example, Liz Mierzejewski just read one of my most recent stories for me to give me feedback. She said that I needed do more showing less telling and to avoid info-dumping. So, I'm going to focus on that in my next story writing effort. I've had this idea for a long time that involves a computer crash. Now that I've got a lot of good first-hand knowledge and experience of the subject, I think I'm going to try to write it. So, focus on showing in the story I was thinking of calling Megatron (although, I suppose that'll never fly if it ever gets published, but then again, I don't expect it to. I've got a lot more practicing to do I think).

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Hugos and Podcasts

Monday, Rish and I were recording for the podcast, and we...well I talked about the Hugo Awards. It seems that everyone out there has made their comments about the Hugo Award nominees, and what they mean. So, there's no need for me to give my opinion. But, of course, I'm going to anyway.

I just wanted to mention what seems to be a sort of shift in things. Podcasts are starting to matter, that's what I see when I look at the nominations. The most glaring example is the fact that StarShipSofa was nominated for best fanzine. Will they win it all? Who knows? But even if they come in last place, the precedent has been set. People know that podcasts can be nominated, and perhaps we'll see a great number more of these shows honored in the future.

Then there's the nominees for some of the story awards. In 2006, Escape Pod podcasted all the nominees they could get their hands on for the short story category. This was a really big deal then. But fast forward to last year, and when it came time for Escape Pod to do their annual assembly of short story nominees, both 26 Monkeys, Also The Abyss by Kij Johnson and Exhalation by Ted Chiang had already been done by StarShipSofa. If I remember right, they'd been done for StarShipSofa's roundup of all the Nebula Award nominees. Now, looking at this year's nominees, Bridesicle, Non-Zero Probablilites, and Spar have all been podcast already, before the nominations were even announced! That's three out of five, already done. If you look at the novelette category, it's the same deal. Eros, Philia, Agape; Overtime; and Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast are all already podcasted before the nominations were even made.

Also, looking at the Best Semiprozine nominations, Clarkesworld has their own podcast. Interzone has a podcast--Transmissions from Beyond does the three TTA Press magazines. And Weird Tales has some sort of partnership with Pseudopod. So podcasts are super involved in pretty much any category they can be.

I make a podcast, so of course I think we're a valuable part of the sci-fi/fantasy community. But it seems as though others are starting to agree.

I'm making an effort to read or listen to all the nominees that I possibly can before the awards are given out. If you'd like to join me, a really great resource to use is the post by SF Signal, in which they provide links to anything that is available on the web.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Round Two Arrives

Ever since I finished my diet about six weeks ago, I've been dreading this day. My wife wasn't satisfied with the amount of weight we lost last time. It was good, but we both had more to lose. So, she started planning our next round. And dammit if the day hasn't arrived.

I've only been on it for a few hours, and I'm already hungry. That could be partly because of the fact that Rish and I went out and pigged out last night to celebrate my last night of freedom. I ate a huge, greasy bacon burger, and drank something like a bucket's worth of Dr. Pepper. I lived it up while I could. Soda is now strictly verboten. I don't know if everyone else is like this, but whenever I pig out at night, I find myself twice as hungry as normal the next morning. So, now I'm paying for my excess. Oh well.

The diet worked really well last time, so I guess we can all expect to be seeing a lot less Anklevich. If you hear me whining, shouting, or complaining, by the way, I apologize. It's one of those features of being hungry. A friend of ours who has done the same diet as us coined a new term. She says that this diet makes you hangry. Yes, that's a combination of hungry and angry. I remember being hangry a lot last time. So, I apologize now in advance for my short temper and general irritability.