Wednesday, June 18, 2014

On the Docket 2014

  • Holy Men - Another manuscript that has undergone a number of different titles.  This is my Adam/Eve/Cain/Abel story and was originally started Fall 2010.  I've been contemplating self-publishing it in the near future.
  • Book of Doom - A project cobbled together from story fragments I've had for years, including "Tug Rushmore," the book I wanted to write after graduating college.  Was one of two books I considered making my Fall 2014 manuscript.
  • Space Corps Book 2: The Dark Riders - This is the second.  The first book in this series, Seven Thunders, was the manuscript I started Fall 2012.  Dark Riders and Book 3, The Fateful Lightning, are the two oldest outlined concepts in the Space Corps saga, while Seven Thunders was always the showcase centerpiece (and is my latest attempt to win the interest of an actual publisher).  Recently I've been revisiting Riders and Lightning, looking for ways to not only improve them but also make them more similar to what Thunders ultimately became.  That's resulted in somewhat radical character revisions for at least three characters (probably four) though not necessarily anything different in their arcs.  (Context is everything.)
  • In the Land of Pangaea - The Fall 2013 manuscript is sitting in a drawer.  Not figuratively, as most of my manuscripts do, but in an actual drawer because at the moment it exists only in a single print copy that I sometimes dread WILL BE LOST TO AN INEXPLICABLE AND PROBABLY NOT LIKELY (???) DISASTER.  When will this one move forward?  It's anyone's guess (although somewhere within the 21st century would be a better one than others you might suggest).
  • Song Remains the Same - This is something that kind of became a spin-off of Pangaea, specifically the last section (the blatantly autobiographical one).  Features the same set of characters in different permutations and interpretations.  I stopped writing this one about 60% into it, and I kept expecting to continue at some point, but at a certain point, I realized it was actually a good thing to stop when I did.
  • 101 Star Wars Variations - Pretty much the same as the above, but with Star Wars characters instead.  I sketched out the complete list at the start of the year, and hope to have them all written by the end of the year.  If I'd written a mere two a week from the start, I'd be in pretty good shape right now, but I didn't, and so I'll be playing catch-up (although I'm too lazy to do the math, I won't really know or care when I don't have to anymore).  So far this has been great fun.
  • Belle York - This is the Fall 2014 manuscript.  It's an idea my sister gave me.  She's long been a Beauty and the Beast fan, and so it seems natural that her idea was for me to write my version of the story.  The ideas started flooding, and so I was able to fashion it pretty quickly into my own idea.  Like Seven Thunders it's going to return to the War of 1812.  I'll likely be writing more about this one in the months ahead.
  • Foundlings - This is another book I will work on at some point, my version of the JFK/LHO story (if you don't know one of those acronyms off-hand, you certainly know the other).
  • Zooropa - An actual book that brings together a number of disparate concepts (a lot like Book of Doom) that I've been serializing in crude comic strip form all year long, which thanks to having a (series of) notebook(s) where I record all my ideas, I was recently reminded that the conclusion I'd formulated for the comic strips is not the actual ending.  I sometimes dabble in comic writing.  This will hopefully be my first comic novel, which will not completely shame the late Douglas Adams, who was the obvious inspiration for how it all began.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

IWSG June 2014

The Insecure Writers Support Group posts on the first Wednesday of every month (except Smarch).  That is today!

Truthfully, I nearly packed it in.  I mean, I nearly gave up on posting to this blog.  Not because I stopped considering myself to be a writer (that's not gonna change) but because I had drifted away from the point of blogging about my perspective as a writer.  Part of the reason doesn't even have to do with anything I've done here.  Readers over at Scouring Monk may or not realize (or care) that I stopped posting my Zooropa strips there.  I started receiving feedback that didn't seem to realize what I've been doing with them, so I figured people were just tired of it and didn't feel like just saying so (people rarely are that direct on the Internet; we're a very passive aggressive digital community).  So I just took that ball and went home.  Nearly did that here, too, as a result.  I got a comment from one of the Geek Twins (you can't please them all both) concerning something that really didn't have anything to do with him.  I'm only addressing the situation directly because of another situation from earlier this year, also concerning Scouring Monk rather than this blog.  For a good number of months I participated in the Armchair Squid's Cephalopod Coffeehouse virtual book club.  It's a bloghop exactly like IWSG, but with a new linky list every month.  Now, when I periodically say I don't play well with others (such as this whole post), you will know what I mean (in case you didn't already).  Andrew Leon had been adding somewhat related posts onto those lists (several each month) for all that time.  It's not like I never clicked the links.  Each time I checked they weren't actually about books.  Which is what the Cephalopod Coffeehouse is all about.  So I got fed up with that and made a comment over at his blog.  No big deal.  He just deleted it.  But then Squid made an anonymous comment on his blog about playing nice.  I knew it was about me.  I said so.  He made a vague comment in return about hoping I wouldn't stop participating after I suggested maybe that's what I should do.  But I did stop participating.

Now (here you get a new paragraph), lately Andrew has been submitting actual book talk links to the list.  That's fine.  I hadn't really been thinking about it that way, but I guess the whole reason I reacted the way I did was because it was basically Squid's fault for keeping all of Andrew's bad links in the list to begin with.  I tend to start thinking like this.  I assume Squid was fine with Andrew's antics because they actually know each other in real life.  Maybe they don't.  I can't keep all these relationships straight.  I know Squid knows Mock, and that Andrew to me is better known as part of Pat Dilloway's dedicated circle.  I know that Andrew and Squid and Mock are all teachers.  Anyway, I have a history of not agreeing with Andrew's thought process (although bizarrely we sometimes randomly, completely sync up, such as our positive opinion of Saving Mr. Banks), and so that had a huge role to play in why I ended up making a comment about his Cephalopod Coffeehouse habits (at that time).  When I read a blog and don't agree with their thought process, I don't feel like making a contrary comment after all their posts.  I just stop reading them.  No one on the Internet wants to have conversations.  This is a land of histrionics and disagreements.  (And cats.)  Or unconditional support.  Which I can't do.  (This makes me a bad person in some ways.)

All this dirty laundry...This isn't the way the IWSG/A-to-Z Challenge folks (either those who participate in these things or are associated with those who do and/or have) behave toward one another.  I know this.  I'm a rebel with low readership.  I'm talking about any of this because that's my thought process this month.  This is definitely a problem for a writer working on a blog for readers who spend all their time supporting each other without really giving it a second thought.  I give everything a second thought.  And a third thought.  And so on.  I quit Squid's club, and stopped reading his blog entirely, and by the rules of reciprocity, he gave up completely on me, too.  The only person who doesn't follow these rules is Pat Dilloway.  I still can't explain that.  Perhaps you are aware of my other great blogging faux pas from early in the year: giving Pat the silent treatment for a few months after he gave Pale Moonlight a devastating review.  In fact, that's exactly what the subject was from the most recent incident I mentioned at the start of this.  I know Pat's instincts pretty well at this point.  I knew he wouldn't even come close to liking the book.  And so it was not at all surprising that he didn't.  All this time since, I've been trying to explain why it hasn't affected my creative thought process so much as my blogging experience, why I wonder why I should bother.

I blunder all the time.  I can't be the shiny happy blogger.  If that means I have to spend an entire IWSG post talking about matters that sometimes don't have anything to do with actual writing, then so be it.  Because being a writer in this context also means being a blogger.  And being a blogger has become so much more complicated since people actually started reading my material.  I still don't know how that happened.  I don't remember how I stumbled into Alex Cavanaugh.  But then I did the A-to-Z for the first time, and suddenly I had readers, full of expectations, ones I had never even considered before.  I was writing long before I had readers, but suddenly these readers are coming up with comments that aren't all that relevant to what I'm doing.  I just don't get that.  I get that I don't overlap in my thought process with a lot of other people.  I've dealt with that my whole life.  That, apparently, just is not going to change, even in the expanded pool of people available on the Internet.  I get that people in the IWSG are here to support each other no matter what.  But what I'd really like is someone (anyone) who gets what I'm trying to do.

And so every setback is a cause to make me insecure.  So there's that tie-in with the point of this particular club.  When I spend months trying to explain what Pale Moonlight is, even after the Dilloway review, and still get the comment that I should just forget it, I think that's completely beside the point.  Having this blog is all about my perspective.  If it's not, what's the point?  I'm not here to rationalize why someone didn't like my book.  I guess I'm not even here to convince anyone to read my book.  I've found that just doesn't work.  People read books by bloggers they like, not books they like.  (Most of the time, they end up liking those books anyway.  So you see why that whole thing baffled me.)  I can't say things like this without alienating everyone.  You guys are the definition of support.  But only as long as the rules are adhered to.  The people who define those rules, they have the greatest support around.  Everyone loves them.  They're lovable.  I get that.

I kept this ball on the field, but this is to say that I'm going to play by my rules.  The consequences don't really seem to matter.  Bad reputation?  For what?  For being honest?  For calling a spade a spade?  In the best of all possible worlds, Candide is running around experiencing all kinds of shenanigans, and people like honesty.  I don't know.  It doesn't matter.

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