Tuesday, November 22, 2011

NaNo weekly update

We are in the home stretch, I just finished 40k words yesterday, and got the edits for Killing to Know back. So this week I am going to blitz though the last 10k words.

No more daily goals, just that last 9,400 something words then I shall clam victory and move on.

That is all.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A meditation on killing Characters

One thing that I have learned from the school of Ice and Fire and pay cable over the last few years is that when there is a real chance that characters can die, a story has more weight and the consequences feel more real. And I'm not talking red shirt number one or viper piolet third from the left, I'm talking the big main my name is in the openning credits people.

It is a lesson I have taken to heart and when the fancy strikes me while building a story I won't hesitate to kill somebody, especially when I am outlining, I will just off people like it is going out of style, or like I am about to be canceled by the network. So it was a great shock to me yesterday when getting close to the end of the outline for Bodies under 95, that when the notion crossed my mind to kill somebody my pen hesitated, and I couldn't do it, I couldn't be the ruthless killer of my creations that I usually am.

I was taken aback by this, thought about it, and made a choice, you will just have to read to see what happons, but it was the first time that I struggled with the dessition to kill somebody. The person is central but hardly major, and not anybody I am horribly attached to so I can't say why I dithered on the call to end their text based imagenary life.

Maybe i am just learning to be less ruthless, or maybe the story just didn't demand their death I don't know, but it is interesting, and rest assured that more and more people will die I'm not going completely soft.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

National Write a Novel Month week two

Week two has ended and the third has started. Yesterday I crossed the half way mark, waking up with 24,000 and going to work with 27,000. The outline problems have been solved, and I am almost done outlining the book, but I am still a good ten chapters ahead of myself so I'm not quickly approaching the end of what I have laid out in writing.

The goal by the end of next week is to be in the low 40,000 I think I can do that, if I can have one or two days like yesterday I should be golden. As of yet I don't have a target for how long this one will end up, but I am feeling based on the outline that I will get into the 60,000s again like with Breaking Overnight.

So not a long update this week, just me plugging along trying to knock out the words before the impending deadline knocks me out.

As always you can follow my progress here.

http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/participants/seanathin23

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Earth Dog, otherwise known as Gaius goes nuts.

Far warring this is a post about my dog and the one sport that I run him in, among all the sports that Gaius does in his little life.  That one sport is Earth Dog. Here is a wikipedia link for those who really want to long form nitty gritty about the sport.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthdog_trial Basically Earth Dog is a test to see how your dog preforms in tracking underground. the AKC limits participation to most terrors and dachshunds, so that is right up Gaius' ally. The Dog runs into an underground tunnel, with turns and at the end is a rat in a cage. The dog has a set amount of time to run to the rat, and a set amount of time that they have to work the rat, work being anything that the judge can detect from above ground. Then in senior which is where we are, I have a set amount of time to call Gaius out of the tunnel after the rat has been removed.

Gaius and mommy waiting for his turn to bark at the rats.

The trial was held on a farm about an hour or so from Richmond, making it the perfect day trip. We woke up early and headed out because registration closed at nine and I completely forgot to register before hand, thus we were at the back of the line which Gaius was not happy about. Being at the back isn't a horrible thing in senior though because so many of those people are also running master that if you wait up by the entrance you can usually cut in front of the no shows. 


Once it is your turn you walk though a small wooded path, taking everything off you dog because they have to run the course naked. The fear is that in the dark their collars or such might get caught on something and then the only way to remove them would be to dig up the run, the same consideration would be taken in real life in he was in the tunnels of game that was being flushed out.  Once you get to the line, you hold you dog giving him a few seconds acquire the sent of the rats. The whole tunnel is laced with rat pee so that the dogs have something to follow. Once they have locked on you let them go. 

On Saturday Gaius decided to do a bit of overland tracking and ran strait for the judges, and was shooed away. Eventually he decided to go into the hole and found his way to the rat and worked. He worked for his whole time and then once the rat left, he went exploring, popping out the false entrance and running back to me. We failed because he didn't reach the rat in time, otherwise we would have passed.  

Today though was a different story, Gaius ran right into the tunnel barking like a berserker, and he then preceded to work the false den and then the rat, burring up all his time, then once the rat was removed he kept working the empty area until I came to get him out. So all he did right was to work. I can take this weekend because he hadn't done Earth Dog in a while and did run in, did work and had a hell of a lot of fun which is really what matters. 

I love just how beautiful central Virgina is, especially in the fall.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

National Write a Novel Month week one

Time for a status update on my second trek through NaNo.  I have logged just over 16,000 words so far, which is above par, but less then I wanted to have with three days off from work at the start of November. 

I had outlined but wasn't feeling the story for a bit, as I had a large narrative issue that I had to get though, so I could make it to the rest of the story that I understood, and had planned out.  I just solved that problem, well call it my bodies knot, since Hobbs doesn't take a trip to Merereen. (For the non Ice and Fire enlightened, http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/37635-so-what-is-this-meereenese-knot-martin-is-referring-to-on-his-not-a-blog/)

Now that I am past that, and with Liz working nights, which leaves me with oodles of quiet time, I should be able to get deep into the 20,000s by the next time that I update the blog about this project.

Another issue that I was having, was building Hobbs back up after some of the stuff that I did to him in Killing to Know, which I won't go into to much detail about, because you know spoilers and such.

Looking at my outline now, I don't think I am going to run out of plot before I reach the 50k mark like I almost did with Killing. I need think of my mysteries more as books and less as movies if I want to get any appreciable length to them. Though I like the speed at which they move so I don't think I will change that.

http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/participants/seanathin23

Monday, October 31, 2011

The good the bad and Sequel

I understand the sequels are important for building a brand, I understand that when done right a sequel is a great thing.  All this understanding still can't shake the utter fear that I have in writing one. I guess it is because I was raised on movies and so many shitty sequels that the last thing I want to do is write a shitty sequel. 

This is on my mind because tomorrow is the start of National Write a Novel Month. I have decided to go with doing the second Calvin Hobbs book, Bodies Under 95. A sequel to a story that I wrote last year that isn't out yet.  I have planned sequels studied them, and now that it is almost time to start writing one I am petrified to do it. 

I ask myself will I be able to get back in Hobbs head space, will I be able to tell another story that doesn't trample on the original, can I produce something that is equal if not better? I'm aiming for The Empire Strikes Back, I'm just afraid I'll get Batman and Robin instead. A bit of fear is good before embarking on any project, it keeps you focused and honest. Usually though the fear has been that I wouldn't finish, not that I would write something that would basically shit on something I had written before. 

Why do most sequels suck? I think it has to do with a combination of trying to change the characters that we all love, and maybe trying to hard to explain the first entry, or bring every single side character back. I think I can avoid most of those pitfalls, but still I'm scared. 

It is a nedulus fear that I just can't seem to quantify in words, but I figure most people who have expereanced bad sequels will understand.

I'll keep you up to date of how I feel about this project as November progresses, and if I feel like I have written Godfather II or Godfather III.

What will be the fate of what comes after? 

As a PS with National Write a Novel Month coming, I made a guest post on it at http://ashmp.wordpress.com/ which should be live on the 3ed.  I'll keep you updated.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

STING BREAKING OVERNIGHT

I mentioned Breaking Overnight in the last post when I was talking about editing by hand so I thought now might be a good time to go into detail about what that project was. (Yes I have to much on my plate sue me.)

Breaking Overnight as you might have gathered from the title is about news, something that is near and dear to me, seeing as how it pays the bills. The story can be summed up simply as Die Hard in a TV station, but there is a little bit more to it then that, as my bad guys are there for something more then a robbery. Because really what is there to steal in a TV station besides some cameras?

I think that the story of the books gestation is a bit more interesting for a blog post so that is the story I am going to tell.

It started back when I worked overnights as an idea for a movie. I didn't have a good motivation for the bad guys at the time and it didn't get more then a few pages in length. This was right at the end of my script phase when I would start something and then abandon it in a fit of depression. I envisioned the climax one rainy morning on my way home as I was walking out of the station . Stopping to look up at the tower, with it's blinking lights I saw two men chasing each other up it, exchanging gunfire in a raging storm. That idea never left me even after I moved on from overnights to just nights.

Then in July when they were putting the finishing touches on our former general manager, now regional VP's new office, the motivation for the bad guys popped into my head. That motivation also gave me who they were and what they were all about. With that figured out I sat down and started outlining. And no I'm not going to give it away, that would ruin everything now wouldn't it. We know it isn't robbery, so if you can guess what it is in the comments, I'll give you a free copy when the book comes out. (Yes that is a shameful ploy to get comments and conversation going, Hope it works.)  

The project might have fallen by the wayside again, except I mentioned it at work, and people started to pester me about it. Go figure that a bunch of news people would be interested in a thriller that takes place in a TV station that might or might not be loosely based on where they work.  Who would have thought?

So mid way through July I set out to write the book, establishing the same word count goals that I used for National Write a Novel Month, so about 2000 words a day.  I plugged along only falling off the wagon a few times, and finished in just over a month, with 62,000 words or there abouts.  I am happy with the story and charators.  After taking a few weeks off from the book, ten days dictated by Irene stealing my power and another few by work on The Long Night. When I was able to return I polished the first draft once, and gave it to a alpha reader just to make sure that everything made since plot wise.

Now I am working through each chapter by hand and then running it through Serenity so that I can pass it off to a real person to be edited without to much embarrassment.  Once that is done we will be very close to that book being released to the word. I am excited about this one because it takes place in a word that I know relatively well, unlike one that I am just making up or kind of faking based on things I have read in the past.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Editing by hand

Now that The Long Night is out, I can turn my attention to other projects, namely the two books that are written and in the dreaded editing stage. I had hopped to knock out Killing to Know, but in my haste sent it to my editor, a draft to early and it is taking longer then expected, sorry Bill my bad.

So I turned to my other finished first draft, Breaking Overnight. I'm not sure if I have mentioned that project here so I'll give you my loyal readers a quick synopsis. Breaking Overnight, is Die Hard in a TV station. I feel that sentence gives you a basic understanding of the plot but doesn't give to much away, though I feel like I'm pitching a 90's action movie when they were all "Its like Die Hard but..."

This isn't a post about Breaking Overnight that is coming later, this is about editing, and figuring out a system to move your manuscripts from first draft to something that isn't embarrassing for another human to see. I worked by hand for a draft on The Long Night, and not Killing to Know, seeing how those turned out I desided that maybe a red pen was by best friend this early in the project.

Chapter four bleeding

I started printing the book out chapter by chapter to make my edits.  This one is longer chapters broken up in to sections. Once printed I would then make the pages bleed like a camp counselor at Crystal Lake. I find that looking at the work on paper, gives me a different view than seeing it on the computer monitor. I can make changes but not instantly. It lets you see your mental thought possess, and mistakes that you might have glanced over before. Allowing you to more fully digest the edits, so that you don't make the same mistakes again when your writing.   

Once done with each chapter I am making the edits on the computer and running it through Serenity's editor to clean it up another notch. I think I'll do another post about Serenity later, it really is a great program.

Well time to get back to work. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Long Night is finally here

As I'm sure people following this blog know The Long Night came out this week for the Kindle and Nook. Firstly I would like to thank those that have picked up the book, and sheared my links. Second I want to thank the people who helped me get to this point, Elizabeth for pushing me to finish and being almost as giddy as I was when the pubish button was clicked.  William Kost for going though my manuscript and giving me some good edits, and Karlin for creating a bad ass cover. 

Tell me that isn't awesome.
For those reading this who haven't picked the book up yet here are the links, I'll wait.
You might remember the post a while back about the list that I had hanging on my wall.  Well there is now a nice sharppie mark running across one of the titles and let me tell you that felt really good to do.  
video

Now that this is out and marketing has started, I apologize ahead of time to any people that I might annoy in my trek to sell, that is not my intention. I intend to keep you up to date of future projects the state of this book, and keep telling stories of writings past.  

Monday, October 10, 2011

Building the book.

My weekend was mostly taken up by building the final Kindle and Nook builds of The Long Night, sans cover, which hasn't arrived yet. Doing my research, I spent a few hours rebuilding my word documents, changing what is considered normal for line spacing and paragraphs, and all that jazz.

Amazon had a good quick little walkthough in the dashboard area, minus anything dealing with chapters or a table of contents, which for simplicity I decided to do without. As I see it just getting the book to look good in a simple fashion is really the best call for me now at the start. After compiling my .mobi file, I loaded it onto the Kindle and started flipping though to make sure that everything looked hunky dory and it did. I was very happy, doing a little song and dance around the computer room.

Then came the epub for the Nook. Getting calibre to do what I wanted it to do was a bit harder. I tyred a second program that required me to use code to fix my indentions and remove the line between each paragraphs. On a small spurt of an idea I finally found the boxes that I needed to check to alleviate my paragraph woes. Only then to find that every apostrophes that I had in the book turned into a question mark. A few more colorful metaphors later, and some hair pulling I figured out how to fix that issue, and got an epub that I am kind of happy with. Now that Calibre is working better, I can go and make sure that my chapter headings are situated correctly and so forth.

While I was working on this as well, I signed up for both KDP (kindle direct publishing) and pubit which is Barns&Noble's self-publishing marketplace. Now that everything is set up once the cover arrives I will be ready to go......well I still have to write that pesky blurb so that people know what they are buying, I guess I'll do that tomorrow, really not looking forward to that. 

Chapter 1. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Long Night comith

So we are close to the relese of The Long Night, my first foray into fantacy and publishing. While going trough the final text weeding out those little things like the wrong word spelled right that seems to slip though, I found another chapter that works well as a sample. 

So here is Chapter 6 From The Long Night where we meet the crusader Casey Tam. And no this won't spoil the first five chapters.

Chapter 6

And here is Chapter 1 as well.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Long Night

The Long Night, my first foray into fantasy has a history that is almost as long a checked as The Age of Chaos. Though I will try and encapsulate the whole story in a single post.

The genesis of the story doesn't come from literature or a movie, but a video game and not even one that involved swords and sorcery. It was in fact the airport level in Solider of Fortune 2, a military FPS title that planted the seed. In that level the basic gun load out his a pistol with a flashlight, to go with some of the dark areas of the level. This was a few years before Doom3 made it sheik and kind of aggravating. Around the same time another game came out, Neverwinter Nights. Neverwinter while a disappointing follow-up to Baulder's Gate 2 did come with the simplest campaign creation tool ever.

While building a town to set an adventure in, I started playing with the lighting tools and realized that I could sap all the light from the level making the player rely on a torch and little bits of fire. That pulled me back to that level in SOF2 with the flashlight. That town would become Hilltop, and the module would be Neverwinter Evil (Yes a reference to Resident Evil.) The basic plot for the Long Night was born then. Alex and I worked on the mod following the player as he tried to save the world, going from farmlands to Hilltop and then a crypt and the mountain, which is the basic movement of the book.

I abandoned the mod because well it sucked, what can I say game design isn't my strong suit, and it screamed out for a party, which Neverwinter didn't let you have, and was probably my biggest fault with the game.

Cut ahead to 2009 when BioWare again resurrected the story with the release of Dragon Age. In the spirit of Neverwinter Nights Dragon Age had a map editor and I wanted to bring what I was now calling The Darkener to that platform. I had a party system and a dark setting that worked much better with my story. So before the game came out I sat down and started outlining the plot the people, and the basic events that would happen, and drew a few maps here and there, about half a legal pad worth of notes. While waiting for the game to come out, I started writing the first few chapters of the story just to get a feel for the world that I was going to create. This would turn out to be the first three Alen chapters. I then sat this aside as the exercise had been fulfilled, I was making a game damn it not writing a book.

Once Dragon Age came out, I discovered that the tools were far more complicated then the ones for Neverwinter had been. So knowing that all trying to make The Darkener was going to produce was screaming and fights with Liz I sat it aside.

While waiting for Dragon Age to come out I started reading A Game of Thrones (if you haven't read this book, stop reading my blog and go read it.....OK so we are down to just people who have read GOT? good.) Anyway, after finishing Dragon Age I devoured the first four published books in the series.The utter brilliance that is George RR Martian made me want to write again.

That was when I picked up The Conflict Within again, and finished that ten year old battle.  I knew then that I didn't want to work on that. Sitting next to my computer was the legal pad with my game notes, and I already had about five thousand words of that written so it seemed like a better choice.

From their I dove in and finished the outline in tandem with writing the book, setting a date to finish the first draft by, and that was the release of God of War 3. I finished the first draft in February of 2010 and hope to publish my long gestating fantasy in late October, Halloween would probably be a great do to it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Age of Chaos Part 3

The climatic conclusion to the trilogy! OK not really, this is kind of like if Return of the Jedi ended with Luke falling in the Rancor pit, and we faded to black without any credits.

In 2001 I started writing screenplays, and sat the 50,000 odd words that I had to the side. Every few years I would get the itch to work on The Conflict Within again, and boot up my old Word document and add another two or three hundred words of people thinking about this battle that was about to take place. I never wrote the battle though. I had written it before in the very first computer draft, but this was always about as far as I ever got in the Age of Chaos.

So years past, I worked on other stuff, went through a long spell where I didn't write anything The Warcraft years. Then in 2009 that changed. I picked up the project again and in a fit of creative insanity, wrote that battle that I had been shifting and putting off for almost ten years. It was cathartic to say the least.  After doing that though I looked back at my outline, and looked at what I had and didn't feel so hot about working on a text that was that old fearing just how extensive the edit was going to be. So again in fear I sat it aside and picked up The Long Night which I had sitting to the side.

After Finishing the Long Night and then Killing to Know I decided to pick back up The Conflict Within. I modified my outline so that it was a bit more logical, filling in the plot holes left by 10th grade me. Then I started writing. The first thing I did was ditch the long galaxy as feudal Europe bit instead opting to do that scene in a very George RR Martian prologue style. (A link to the prologue will be at the bottom of the post) Then I kept going getting about 30,000 words done before I started to peter out again. Mostly I was questioning why I was working on a third manuscript when I had to finished ones that just needed to be edited.Of course I went off and write a third novel not two months after that, granted a 60k one off is less investment then a four part series which each book clocking in at 100k+.

So again I sat the Conflict Within aside, in the middle of a battle of all places, but not the same one thankfully that would have been a little to strange.


The Conflict Within Prologue

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Irene, and the joys of writing by hand.

So this weekend and probably the next few days will consist of picking up for hurricane Irene, and by picking up I mean living in my house like I'm camping. Only this camp out has running water but still a camp out none the less. Yesterday I had a desire to write, but couldn't keep working on Breaking Overnight because the power was out. So I got a candle, opened the window and opened the binder where I had been working on the first episode of The Long Winter and got writing.

The thing that I like about writing the old fashioned way with a pencil and sheet after sheet of collage ruled paper is that it feels more pure. I get to think about a sintace as I'm witting it, not after it is finished. This of course comes from the speed at which I can legibly write vs the super fast speed that I type. Not to mention its satisfying when 5600 words takes up 28 pages.

All I had was a Yankee candel for light.
I feel that at some point every writer should do some work by hand with paper wither it is copy editing with a red pen, or writing by hand, or heaven forbid using a typewritier. Side note I wrote a page of the very first draft of The conflict Within on a typewriter that my mom found in the attic. It was more a novelty then anything else, but the expereance of using it was a lot of fun. I also wrote the first like three pages of a WarCraft novel on that as well. (Back before WarCraft was the world).

I know that somebody is going to bring up the fact that I am an eBook advocate, who is advocating paper. Yes I am, soley from a writing standpoint. In the end I'll still polish on the computer and prefer to read it off my Nook then a massive printed tome.

It is cathartic to think that I spent three hours writing what normally would have taken me twenty minutes of good work to get done. Now that I'm going back and typing what I had writen, some of that stuff is really good. On the other hand some of the sentaces kind of get lost as they get longer. Clearly I lost the idea before I could finish. All and all it is an expereance that I plan to repet a few more times, though this time with power. I finished the first episode of The Long Winter the day the power came back on, and the ruff word count during the ten days without power is 10,000.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Super Sample Sunday

#Sample Sunday is a twitter thing that writers do to share samples of their works in progress, or books that they are trying to sell. I have far to many projects and don't want to fill a twitter feed with them so here is a blog post I'll call it super Sample Sunday.

Killing to Know: (read previous post for a synopsis)

The Conflict Within: The first part of my oft started Sci-Fi epic The Age of Chaos

The Long Night: Darkness has descended upon the world and it falls to an unlikely group of heroes to set things right.

Breaking Overnight: Die Hard meets TV news.

A note all of these are just drafts so parts are subject to change and grammar will be fixed as real editors go through and fix my inability to spell or use commas with moderation.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Killing to Know

Killing to Know was my first try and National Write a Novel  month, and also the book I have decided to publish first. The story had it's genesis in my obsession with film noir and an idea that I had to shoot a short single shot movie, another thing I hadn't been able to get out of my head since I saw Children of Men.

The plot of the movie was a killer walking up to an apartment and waiting for an un-named guy to come home, he then shots him and leaves. We were going to do this whole thing as a single take, but that never came though. But the man coming up to an apartment was burned into my brain, I know that was how the story started, I just didn't yet know it was a book and not some kind of shitty short movie.

So I spent a bunch of days writing little bits of scenes and I wasn't sure how they all fit in with each other. I knew that the new MacGuffin ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacGuffin) would be a mob boss's will. At that point I still didn't know why it was important, and didn't till about halfway though writing the book. I had the principal characters of Calvin Hobbs - named after the comic duo, but don't let him know that - The Stranger, and Jacki Deverox.

That script came toghter into a relativly short 29 pages which wasn't horrible but also was not a very good movie and wouldn't have been somthing that I could have pulled off well. Black and white is harder to shoot in then I would have thought.  By July of 2010 I knew that Killing to Know was a book, that I was calling Will Call at the time. Also in July I knew that I wanted to do National Write and Novel Month, and was deep into editing The Long Night (another post for another time,) so I slipped the idea away and let it mull in my head so that it would be a good vintage when I opened the bottle in November. 

Come November I started witting, and for most of the time it went really well. The story started in first person, but then halfway though chapter two I switched to third person without realizing it for another two chapters because that is just what came naturally. So by that point I just decided to let it slide and go fix that first chapter in editing. I finished the book with a few days to spare, and sat it aside till this spring when the task of working through The Long Night got to me.

Then I decided that it would be a good toe in the water for self publishing because it wasn't horribly long, was a solid story, and at the time wasn't something I was so attached to that I could live with seeing it crash and burn. I mean it would hurt but wouldn't destroy my spirit to write ever again. 

Synopsis:
Privet Eye Calvin Hobbs is hired to take a few pictures of a mob boss's Will. What he doesn't know is that this single job will pull him into a web of treachery and death, as multiple forces fight over the document. As he struggles to put the peaces together Hobbs learns that when a secret is as valuable as the one he has anybody will end up killing to know it.

I hope to show you the cover soon, and as always here again is the sample chapter, a draft version of Chapter 1. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qe86ue_eLyJM2pQ3Ahp5V8V26B2GGLzjGyUwP8nKlG0/edit?hl=en_US


Monday, August 15, 2011

The Age of Chaos Part 2

The rest of middle school post The First Stand was comprised of my writing on a long Star War's Fan fic based on the online role play of a girl I had a crush on.  So once high school rolled around and we went our separate ways I dropped the story, to go back to what I really wanted to write which was my sci-fi version of Lord of The Rings or maybe a bit more Red Storm Rising in space, but I digress.

I started typing, not quiet knowing where I was going, I was just typing as things came to my mind, I got about 50 single spaced pages in before this draft fell apart for reasons that I don't quiet remember anymore. I believe I picked back up the Star Wars story for the simple fact that it was a really damn good story, since I had stripped all the elements of the RP out, and gave it my own dark twist.

In 10th grade I decided that throwing myself at this massive story willy nilly wasn't going to accomplish anything, so I got a spiral notebook and started doing something that I had never done before, but would do for every book I have written since then. I outlined.

Short paragraphs for each and every scene. It allowed me to just go but still monkey around with the plot before I had committed thousands of words, and many hours, to a line of thought that didn't quite work out.  I stopped work on the manuscript I had, and started form scratch again, recycling a few things here and there.

The main thing that I kept was this massive conceit at the front of the book in the prologue about how the universe was like feudalism in medieval Europe that went on for close to a thousand words. It was to long, it was creative but didn't add a damn thing to the story. I couldn't cut it because I was a stuck up 14 year old who thought his shit didn't stink. That shit was the massive conceit and it did stick as the opening to a book.

The outline started to go, and go mounting to almost two hundred pages, with characters going everywhere, plot threads that never really ended, problems, but I was ignoring them. At school I would just work on the outline, writing as neat as possible with my uni-ball pin - I do really love those things. When I got home I would start plugging away at the manuscript again.  This time I would get to just over 50,000 words before something would come along and plunge me into a stretch where I wouldn't write prose again for a very long time...... screenplays.


To be Concluded....

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The List

As a writer I come up with ideas exponentially faster then I can write them. In an effort to keep track of where I am I made a list. It consits of is every idea that I presently have; broken up by genera. I plan to hang the list over my desk and cross things off as I publish them.  I also got some cheep spiral notebooks from Wal Mart and I'll try and outline ahead of myself so that I'm not losing good ideas because they are deep in the queue.

My attempt to stay organized.

Sci- fi
The Age of Chaos
     -Conflict Within
     - First Stand
     - Fate's Crest
     - The Moltar Gambit

The Age of Strife (three books)

The Phoenix (a retooling of my SW fan fic to work in my established sci-fi world.)
Retribution (I got a cool way to novelize the short movie I made years ago)

Fantasy

The Long Night
The Three Thieves
The Long Winter 1-3
The Dwarf Wars
Lysta's Long Night

Thriller

Killing to Know (Calvin Hobbs)
The Agility Murders (Calvin Hobbs)
Bodies under 95 (Calvin Hobbs)
Meat Cleaver (Calvin Hobbs)
Breaking Overnight
The Yokai Project

Those titles are of course subject to change. And things will get added as time goes on I'm sure.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Age of Chaos: part 1

As a creative person I get stuck on ideas that never seem to leave me, but never seem to get done. The Age of Chaos - a four volume Sci-Fi work - is one of them. The germ of the idea started way back on April 1, 1996. I was watching an episode of Babylon 5, one of the best shows ever, and had an idea for a space ship.  The next day in school I started drawing, it was flat and 2D but it got my mind racing. I drew these space ships everywhere and kept improving them, and slowly coming up with history and factions for them basically back story. I wouldn't start writing the first volume of the Age of Chaos, The Conflict Within until early 1998.

The EAS Enterprise plus escort. 
Virginia Class Battleship


I was sitting in health not paying attention, so much of my early writing history involves me sitting in class not paying attention. I was day dreaming probably drawing a spaceship when a scene took form, so I started writing. I kept writing stashing the pages of louse paper into my note books. The story kept growing and I had no idea where I was going with it.  
The basic plot is as follows. The Earth Alliance is at an uneasy peace with its neighbors and pushing farther out into the stars when a Civil War starts up, fueled by oppression on Mars and other worlds most notably in the Slavic sector. As the Civil War picks up the humans are caught unaware when a much larger threat starts to loom, I'll give you a hint ET doesn't want to just phone home. 

My influences were from just about everywhere though mostly, Star Trek, Star Wars, Babylon 5, Space Above and Beyond, and Tom Clancy. That last one doesn't seem to fit but his 80's techno thriller fingerprints are still all over the basic plot and feel of the story.  As I have gone on other places have worked their way into my influence list, like Dune, Starship Troopers and Battlestar Gallactica, but they don't have the same foot print on the story as the original influences did. Maybe it's because I'm not 13 anymore and see that I'm leaching ideas or maybe it is because they just don't fit as well into the story that I already have.

Of course when I started it wasn't this massive four book cycle that didn't come till 9th grade right now in early 1998 I'm just writing, writing and loving every second of it. But come summer I would fall out of love with The Conflict Within and move on to a different idea that was set in the same world that was 8th grade that was when the Aliens came into the picture. 

 The First Stand (1999)

While doing free writing in my creative writing class another story started taking shape that at first I didn't know was in the same world as The Conflict Within, but by the end of the day I knew it was not only in the same world but a sequel. I would take that story to completion over the next two or three mouths. Every class I was in you could see me pull this massive wad of pages from my blue day planer and start working. I was more into my story then just about anything else at school.  Once I finished that I started a few other partial stories that didn't go anywhere but that left me with all of these bits, and it wouldn't be until high school after a breef flutation with Fan Fiction that I would put all of that toghter as a massive series that still haunts me when I sit down to work on something else. 

To be Continued.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Great Jet Rescue

It was a sunny day in November of 1994. I only know this because we lived in southern California and everyday was sunny. In my room was a computer that my dad had built in a class, that had been stuffed with games, like the original Duke Nukem and Woldenstein 3D. Thre was also this little word prossessor called the Children's publisher or somthing like that. It was a simple program that allowed you to write and put clip art into your documents. Clip art was all the rage in th early 90's. i also remember that it had a four page limit for how long your documents could be.

Well it was a nice day, and I wasn't outside playing for some reason that I can't remember 16 years later but I was inside, and this would be the first time that the need to write somthing gripped me and was spit out onto a computer.

The Great Jet Rescue (Nov 20, 1994)

The plot was simple an experimental jet goes haywire and flies towards the sun, and NASA scrambles a shuttle to rescue the pilot. Being ten and LD the words that flowed didn't make that much sense. I had forgotten a few important things such as giving my characters names, denoting when people talked or used any kind of punctuation at all. Clearly I was a young Faulkner.

After finishing my brilliant story I went to my mom to get her to read it. she didn't understand what was going on in my wall of text, and so we started piecing it toghter and creating somthing that was an actual readable story. all of the characters had color names, and after a lot of cryptography all the dialogue got quotation marks and paragraphs were laid out. add a little clip the title and BAM I had a short story written before noon.

I should have written more and sold them at school like people did with little comic strips. Oh well missed opertunity.  Full text of The Great Jet Rescue

Monday, July 25, 2011

Prologue

As far as introductions go I’ll get the basic stuff out of the way. My name is Sean I’m in my mid 20’s live in Virginia, and I’m a writer. Not a published one yet, more a hobbyist with my eye on the prize if you will. I’m just some guy with a computer and an overactive imagination that writes because I can't draw to save my life, that and I find it very relaxing. That is what this blog will be about.  I want to trace my steps as a writer how I got here and where I am going in the future towards publication, wither that be with a self-published eBook or though the more traditional style. So this will be the story of my life told kind of Memento style with this being the middle.

I have been coming up with stories for as long as I can remember, and there is a box in my parents’ house as proof that is filled with little story books. Just a few bound pages of louse leaf paper. On those pages is my bad handwriting and equally bad pictures  

 Racetrack of the Underworld (1994-5)

Let’s just say that my decision to transfer to pros instead of sticking with illustrations was probably a good idea. Most of them were about pirates and space men, the fantasies of a child that I have never gotten away from, not that pirates and space men are bad things at all.
Later on I would move on to drawing space ships on my spelling tests and those space ships would lead to hundreds of hand written pages stuffed into my middle school binders telling the epic story of a civil war and alien invasion. It’s an epic story that I would come back to in High school and again this year. It is the recurring dream that I keep having, even though I know I’m not quite ready yet to see it all the way though. 

 The Conflict within (1998 draft)

People used to look at me funny when I would open my binders in 8th grade and pull out the novel I was working on, and set upon it like a starving child, filling the pages with my horrific handwriting.  In between all of that I dipped my toe in Star Wars fanfic, mostly to impress a girl but also because I’m a massive Star Wars geek. And in ’99 we as a culture still didn’t know just how damning the Phantom Menace was going to be to the saga that we all loved so dearly.

Then in High School I found my second love, screenplays. It started as an exercise in trying to write a video game movie that didn’t suck, and resulted in my first script The Lord of Terror which was based on Diablo. Looking back it wasn’t a great script, but it did show me that scripts write so much faster then prose, that I ditched the 50,000 completed words and 200 page outline that was the age of chaos to embark on making movies. 

 Fellowship of the Slacker (2003)


Eventually the movie well would dry up, mostly killed by my imagination being too big for my budgets, and World of Warcraft. Eventually on a lark I would return to pros in late 2009, while doing prewriting work on a Dragon Age mod that I never made. But those ten pages of prose to get my mind turning and the resulting outline turned into my first finished novel, The Long Night, and it has been forward down the writing path ever since. 

 The Long Night (2010 3ed draft)

I didn’t fully feel the desire to self publish till I got a Nook last year and dove into the world of eBooks, and realized that most of the ones out there by real people aren’t bad at all. It was a revelation to me as a writer because my last experience with people putting up their stuff outside the imposing gates of a publisher was fanfic and most of that is overblown at best and just Han Luke slash at worst.

As now as I write this I’m sitting on two books out with people to be torn apart in a hail of red ink, looking at one as my toe in the water for self publishing and the other as a toe in real publishing. I’ve got a third that I’m working on, and a whole slew of outlines ideas and characters banging on the walls of my brain ready to live a second life on paper. So hold on to your hats as I take you for a ride down memory lane and forward into what I’m doing right now. I hope you enjoy.