Sunday, March 29, 2015

Twelve Fucking Pounds 2: The Return of the Twelve

Holy God, I have been a lazy sack of shit this winter, doing virtually nothing that required standing outside of my day job. It's no wonder that I put on a little weight, although from what people tell me, they can't tell in the slightest (I associate with some wonderfully kind liars).

I attempted a bike ride, and seriously people, that shit wore me out. I was breathless and hacking and gasping for air like a drowning man, although instead of water I was suffocating on Cottage Inn pizza and bread sticks, with a soda to wash it down. I can barely stand to look at myself when I think about that. I'm in the process of getting myself back into proper shape, with no belly and plenty of stamina for a bike ride to and from work. It's a refreshing little reminder about actions and consequences and all of that jazz. 

So as stated in a recent bloggy blog, She Sees Metaphors is nearly complete. At this point all that I have to do is give it one more read through for stragglers, purchase the ISBN and bar code, and apply the cover art once it's done. I'm coming upon the end of a rather long and educating chapter of my life with the conclusion of She Sees Metaphors. I won't lie, it's rather emotional.

She Sees Metaphors is not my first manuscript. Before that, was a small little autobiographical thing I called Summer Gypsy, which was a blast to write. Being a memoir/novel type thing, I wrote the first draft in about three months, and wanting to give myself some time before the rewrites that never happened, I remembered a short story I wrote called Sometimes I Miss The Lies a year or two earlier. Since Summer Gypsy was so much fun, I decided that I wanted to do it again and so Sometimes I Miss The Lies was chosen to become my next novel.

I learned quickly that writing a novel purely from my imagination and writing one that was essentially just recording things that happened with some embellishments are two completely different animals. Between work and school, it took me an entire year to finish the first draft, which was, putting it nicely, fucking garbage. I was ready to toss the whole thing out. It didn't work. There were so many problems with it that I didn't think I could salvage anything. I was ready to move on.

Thankfully, a dear friend of mine told me that I definitely had something, it just needed to be reworked. Since she's much smarter than I am with all things literature, I decided not to toss my baby into a dumpster. This coincided with me talking to Chris Galford at a party one night, and buzzed off our respected whiskey choices, we talked about starting a writer's workshop. At the time, Chris was finishing up his debut, The Hollow March, and entertaining himself working on some short stories, so it was the perfect opportunity. We assembled some writer colleagues from around town and from that point on, Sundays were the day for our Writers Group (something so much fun that it deserves a blog of its own, so stay tuned for that). 

Unsure of my current draft for She Sees Metaphors, I decided that I should start over, and with that I was cast into my second lesson of writing a novel: the rewrites.

I don't think "rewriting" is a fair term for phase two of crafting a novel. I think that "deleting" is a much more applicable word to describe the process. Of the entire first draft, almost all of it was removed from the novel I will be publishing this year. I say "almost all" because I kept a few concepts, but even those are different from what they were when I first started. With these few ideas, I began another year long trek into crafting a novel, one that was a little better, a little tighter, but still kind of sort of shit. I knew that it was going to need work, which is why most of it was crafted on a typewriter which, along with longhand, I will always and forever argue being the two best methods of crafting early drafts. There's no internet, no word counts, no formatting. It's just you and the story.

Then came along draft three and I was sure as fucking hell that this would be it. The big finale. The last one before I moved on to the next.

Ha.

So that's it. That's how She Sees Metaphors came to be. (We can discuss the publishing process another time, because I definitely have some words on that.) I think this book, which isn't a very long book, took me so long to craft because I was also learning how to write and developing my style in the process. I will also blame full time academia and work, but the learning played a massive role. It was a fantastic education and I'm glad to have experienced it, as it was far more valuable than college ever was. I am immensely proud of my novel, flaws and all. I can't wait to share with the three or four readers who are not my mother.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Almost Done!!!

Grammar checking has secured itself as the one part of the writing process that I abso-fucking-lutely fucking hate. 

But it's done!

The penultimate round of grammar checks was finished just moments ago! All that's left is one more read through, formatting the manuscript to look like a novel, and wait for the cover artist to do her thing. 

Now to go celebrate. Duces, mutha fuckas. 


I'm so pretty when I write.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Well, This Failed

Woaw Nelly. This morning I woke up to an email from a bona fide vanity press offering me the opportunity to publish with them, presuming that my manuscript is something they feel fits with their interests. At first glance, it seemed as though I had been contacted by a real publishing house, which was strange because they mentioned a Library of Congress registration. I have yet to do this with She Sees Metaphors, mostly because the book is still a few feet away from publication and doesn’t even have an ISBN code attached to it. I took the liberty of contacting my former publisher (I feel so legit as a writer being able to say that) and asking them if they had undertaken this responsibility. I can’t help but feel curious and cautious in regards to how people are hearing about my baby. If it’s from word of mouth or my current Facebook promotions that’s one thing. But if my former publisher has muddled things up, well… I’m glad I copyrighted my baby. [Note: SPB got back to me. They did not have any play in this and they gave me some copyright tips, which was kind of them.]

Jesus, it’s almost strange to be blogging again. How long has it been? Two weeks? Almost three? I haven’t had interest access in the last few weeks. The hippy and I have been settling into our new place which only just two days ago joined the world online. I could have gone to a coffee shop or something, but where there’s no internet, reading and writing thrive like disease in a confined place full of sorry bastards with open wounds and no sanitary standards.

I finished reading The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins by Irvine Welsh, which was fantastic until the end, where he gave his vile protagonist the sort of ending he never would have given Roy Strang or Bruce Robertson. It was a disappointment, to say the least. Welsh crafted a female protagonist that recalls Francis Begbie, which nearly made her one of the greatest written females of our time. It’s good to see a smart and calculated female in literature that isn’t some sort of Katniss Everdeen, but rather a cold hearted sociopath with all of the entitlement issues you can expect from a millennial born and raised in the Untied States. It was refreshing to read Sex Lives… and not hear all about another young teenager who becomes a pawn to every older male ever, all the while being paraded as what a young women should be when she grows up. That, or a needy, nagging little shit with no self respect.

My current reading venture is Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King. This was a Christmas gift from my mother, who is currently on a life mission to fill my library with every Stephen King book ever. Well, every book but the Dark Tower series, but whatevs, it’s all good. I can get them on my own. So far the book has been a blast to read. It’s short for Stephen King, so a lot of his usual filler is missing. But that’s good. I appreciate a good story that just gives you the meat and potatoes of the story. It’s how I try to write my own material. If I can justify removing something from my manuscript, then I sure as hell am going to get rid of it.

...

And…. Shit. There goes all train of thought on wherever I wanted to take that. (I think something about how the show Luther has it down solid when it comes to writing that isn’t full of nonsense.) I got up to make some breakfast and a cup of coffee because I was fucking hungry. Then I sat down to eat and watch the Flash, which was a fine way to spend the early hours of the day. I was bothered though that they waited to kill off the one character that I can’t stand until after they showed they might be okay and that the actor can actually act. Then I started working on the dishes because I told the hippy I would do that… I should probably start a second load now that I think about it. Fuck. This blog post on writing has turned into an abortion of sorts. Well, fuck it. It’s not meant to be literature. I guess I’ll wrap this up and start working on the She Sees Metaphors edits, which should be all highlighted and noted by the end of today. So as for blogs, another day, another time. Deuces, motha fuckas.


Hank Moody. My spirit animal. 


Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Few Thoughts On A Few Things

Not gonna lie. It’s just past noon and I’m only now getting my first sip of coffee in for the day, so I find the process of posting to be… meh. This week I shall simply post a few thoughts on a few things.

COMICS!

Michelle Rodriguez came under fire when she made of point of saying the minorities should stop stealing white people's superheroes. Upon hearing this, people naturally found themselves offended, because it's the new millennium and people are sensitive little shits. After the pissing and the moaning commenced, Rodriguez posted a video to clarify what she meant when she said that it's stupid for minorities to play white superheros. 

I think she has a point. It is lazy writing. Comics are definitely suffering from a severe case of lazy scribes these days, which is bound to happen when the stories never end and the heroes never die. Eventually new ideas are going to dry up and the people who are so desperate to keep the flow of superheroes coming are going to resort to changing the race, gender and sexual orientation of already established heroes when they could just try the crazy idea of making something new. 

I'm not a fan of the ongoing series. I think it's a terrible idea.The best stories, whether they're ten pages long or ten books long all come to an end, and that's what makes them satisfying. The end of a story is the punchline, and without it there's nothing to give you proper satisfaction as you close the two covers and take a deep breath. I have an entire bookshelf of comics and trade paperbacks, and it's full of independent stories or single arcs of a character's run. I think those are what's best. I have great stories, but I don't have the long running periods where the writer ran out of ideas and just threw things at the wall. 

MOVING!

I'm moving in two days. Nothing is packed. Seriously, nothing. I still have dirty dishes in the sink, which in all likelihood are not going to be washed, but rather simply be carried over to my new sink and await washing there. I mentioned this to the hippy and she didn't get mad, so it's happening. 

The reason for my laziness is probably that I'm not exactly moving a long distance. The hippy and I are moving to an apartment in the same complex that I'm already living in, and I have three days to transfer my stuff. So... yeah... why bother? I'm just going to carry stuff into the new place and set it on the floor of my room, then go back and get more stuff to set on the floor. It can all come off the floor when I'm done transferring.

JUNE 8TH!

This is the projected publication date for She Sees Metaphors. I am planning to publish the ebook first and then the paperback shortly thereafter. You have been warned.

IRVINE WELSH!
I have made it no secret that I absolutely love Irvine Welsh, especially Marabou Stork Nightmares, Filth, and Porno. Of course I enjoy Trainspotting, but I feel his middle works are where his talent really shines through. His later efforts, Skag Boys and Crime were rather disappointing for me. I wasn't drawn into them like I was his other efforts. So when I saw that The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins was out, I was kind of iffy on it. Still, I picked a copy up and started reading it. So far, I'm actually enjoying the hell out of it. Reading it, I'm reminded of why I loved his earlier work so much. It's dark, crude, and a lot of fun. I look forward to continue putting off moving in favor of reading.

Rapists and Nazis!

Speaking of lazy writing, I've been thinking of late just how much I detest the idea of rapists and Nazis as villains in a story due to their laziness and lack of imagination. With exception to real life rapists and real life Nazis, everyone pretty much hates these people for their crimes against humanity; which is precisely why they make for awful villains in film literature and so forth. 

A good antagonist is built up along with the protagonist. We get to see their evil at work and watch them scheme to hurt the character that we're falling in love with. The most recent antagonist that I have loved to hate is Sam Neill's CI Chester Campbell in Peaky Blinders. While he does have a rape scene of his own, the genius behind the writing of his character is that he's already been so built up into this vicious monster of a man who thinks he's doing the Lord's work that we already have a reason to despise him and to root for Cillian Murphy's Thomas Shelby. The writers took their time and they developed him properly. They could have just shown his rape a woman and left it at that. 

Leading off with these two character traits does little else than to just tell the audience to hate the character. It can be done in a single sentence and that will be that. So while I'm not saying to avoid using these two antagonist traits altogether, I am saying that they should come secondary to other creative bits that allow the audience to see the negative side to a character.

HAIRCUT!

I got a haircut.