Archive for February, 2013

Feasting on Wendingo Flesh…

Which, for those inclined towards writing and don’t know what that means… go here.  So, I’ve made comment before about how I periodically drink some of Chuck Wendig’s writerly Kool-Aid (shut up, it’s Grape, and Grape is awesome!)  I don’t always go hang around his water cooler, but when I do, I usually find something that strikes me (like a shotgun shell against a zombie, or a sucker punch to the gut)… and makes me want to crawl into a corner and weep on my notepads as I scribble word-shaped blobs of ink onto them.

This recent post was no exception, and when combined with my other admission from a recent post, it really did a number on me.

Some posts (like the one I linked to above) can apply to more than just writing, of coursem so I encourage you to check it out. For those writerly inclined among you, though, here’s a taste:

This is the act of forging something out of nothing. It demands sacrifice. It’s you carving off parts of yourself to a future without promises, you spilling power and grief and embracing chaos and uncertainty all in the hopes of trying to make sense of this thing you do in the sheer bloody-minded chance that something you write will finally matter but the trick is, it all matters, because writing is how we connect with ourselves and the world beyond our margins. Writing is how we tether ourselves to god, a god in a narrative world that is, of course, us.

You’re the Muse that inspires you. You’re the god to which you sacrifice. You’re the battering ram made of unholy fire that tears down Writer’s Block. You’re the knife that cuts the arm off, you’re the boulder that must be pulverized, you’re the devil in the details.

*wheeze* Excuse me *cough* while I do some writing.

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Discworld… There’s an App for That!

I’m a few days late on the news, but I found this interesting: there is now, apparently, an app that will let you explore that magnificent jewel on the Disc that is Ankh-Morpork.

For about $14.

I’ve only just read the first book in the last couple of months, so much of the detail would be overwhelming (or, lost, since I wouldn’t have the same points reference as an avid reader). However, I find this to be a fascinating thing.

It’s an interactive map! Huzzah! The gamer part of me is thrilled. The fantasy reader/writer part of me is intrigued. I realize that not all authors, nor all book series/world, would rate enough marketability to warrant similar apps (Harry Potter, likely could. Dresden Files, maybe, but the point is “established audience” would be the key determinant). But the fact that it could be a possibility, that we are in an age where such things can be created – for the fans, that’s just phenomenal.

For those that are big into Discworld, here’s a new thing you can play with. Those just into the possibility of interactive maps (and with an extra $14 to spend), looks like you can get a god fix here, too.

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An Interesting Scrivener Thought…

This one is for my writer people that may not (yet) be regular visitors to Magical Words. Specifically, for those that are Scrivener users.

In case I haven’t mentioned it: I first heard about the software from reading Charles Stross’s blog where he mentioned it a couple of years ago… late 2010. I thought it sounded interesting, a checked out the site, and downloaded it after a laptop upgrade in early 2011. I tinkered with it, but started actively using it for projects in the past year,

One of the things that I did before really jumping in to my Thesis WIP (novel) was spend a little bit of time setting up my own template – which meant using the stock Scrivener design, then adding or altering some of the lables. (Disclaimer: I used David Hewson’s as a guide, but not as gospel.)

Which is why I am sharing today’s post from Magical Words. Mindy Klasky, the post’s author, offers up a screenshot of her Scrivener setup.

And I saw two more things that I hadn’t thought about when I first created my template but, in hindsight, makes a huge amount of sense: Acknowledgements & Plot Summary [or, as I read it: Synopsis].

Which is why I am sharing… Those of you into Scrivener, check out her post and see what you think.

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Birthday Wishes…

My wife’s birthday was yesterday. Here I was, planning on being all ahead of the curve and declaring my love for her on Valentine’s Day AND witshing her a happy birthday. I had started putting this togehter some three weeks ago, and then “other things happened”… I had the video picked out, but the words of eloquence got sidetracked, and I forgot to flip the switch…

Sweetie, I’m sorry THIS piece is a day late, but this one’s for you

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Playing in the Tar Pits…

The writerly tar pits, not real ones… 

I was making my daily rounds of my favorites, and saw this over on Magical Words. One of Carrie Ryan’s lines struck me. Right between the eyes.

…with almost every book I’ve written I’ve gotten to around 17-20k words and then found myself stuck.

Which is exactly the point I find myself at.

The thesis requirement for the MFA is a completed (ideally, salable) novel. That, however, is where the catch is: a novel. It is a thing that I have never actually completed (most of my previous works were either short stories, or attempts at short stories that are actually more like chapters begging for the rest of the story to be told).

So in my first semester, I was fortunate in that I had a few thousand words, and concept work, to give me a head start on the project-that-will-be-thesis. Between a certain amount of polishing four-year old words (read: retyping, an initial cleaning, and adding some new moments to help some of the planned story beats make better sense), those deadlines were easier going. Not a cakewalk, mind you, just not as stressful.

Not as stressful as this semester is shaping up to be. The first deadline was this past weekend. Admittedly, I have done very little physical work with it since the final submission last semester. But mental work? That’s been an ongoing thing.

Which has led to a lesson: be willing forget the linear path. Get off of it. Wander around and get lost in the woods. Go Mario.

And here’s what led me to this lesson. The first 100 pages or so were all linear – A happens, then B, then C, etc. By that point I was starting to get into the middle-lands. No man’s land. The vast desert wastes from which the middle of novels spring and grow into lush jungle greenery. But as I attempted to write, bleached desert sands were all that could be seen. Try as I might, it sucked at my pen as I wrote, making each effort a slog for new words. I could see some spots of life – scattered oasis out in the distance – but.

Finally, in an effort to break free, I went off the grid. I went Mario. I found my way to a warp zone and popped out in an oasis – one of the “future” scenes that I knew would need to be written. It wasn’t brilliant work, but it got me back into things and got words on the page. Still lots of holes to fill in, moments of “here’s something I need to go back and work in earlier” that will need to be handled.

But I have started finding my way through those midland tar pits. There’s still a long way to go, but at last I can say the journey has started.  It’salso nice to see some reaffirmation that this is a process that many other published writers go through as well, and if they can do it then I can do it, too, with some effort.

Oh, look! A pith helmet. And sunscreen! After I fill up this canteen, it’s back into the desert… wish me luck.

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Hall of Fame on MVM

Most of my “current” musical discoveries are slow to spike on my radar… Usually, I might hear something on the radio several times (when I listen to the radio), thing the song is good, but never hear (or, if I do hear, never remember) the name of either the artist or the song once I get out of the car.

This is one of those songs. I may have heard a snippet of it from a video countdown, but it took a few times hearing it on the radio for me to remember the name. Sad, because it’s a good song for driving, riding, running, or anything else that music can help pump you up for.

Here’s The Script feat. will.i.am…

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Home on MVM

I have never been a huge fan of American Idol. Take it or leave it, it’s not a show that I have felt any serious pull to go out of my way to watch. That said, it is neither a show a get twitchy about if I land on it (if there’s actually someone performing). I will say that I do have several items from Idol alumni in my library, so while I may not be a huge fan of the show itself I can appreciate the talent they find.

Which brings us to this week’s selection. Phillip Phillips was the winner of the 2012 season, and this is his lead single. It smacks a little of David Gray or Dave Matthews, which for me is a good thing, and the more I have been hearing it on the radio since the beginning of December the more it’s grown on me.

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