I’m noticing a depressing trend of not actually being able to hit any goal I set, but I’m not letting that stop me. So, that’s good, right?
Last Saturday I intended to write a bit when we were driving, and instead cleared a few more chapters in Metal Heart with Dan. That was kind of a productive, authorly thing to do. Congrats! When we actually got up to the cabin, there was a burning man to construct and burn, nails to paint, dinner to munch on, Munchkin to play and wine and… no writing.
THEN on Sunday, I slogged my laptop upstairs, curled up on a bed with a pug dog – all prepared to type up at least a chapter to the glorious sounds of my family members playing a board game.
When I woke up two hours later with less than two paragraphs written, damn, I felt good because of sleep, but the lack of any written words sucked.
Again, we read a few more chapters on the way home. We’re almost done with the final read-through.
AND THE REST OF THE TIME: I managed to pump out a paltry 4000 words this week.
I haven’t EVEN gotten close to the end of this new chapter. But I spent a considerable amount of mental energy yesterday mapping the next sequence of the book out (quite literally). Google Maps is the best, ya’ll. Found the perfect location for these characters to travel and even hit a cool plot point that wouldn’t have otherwise happened.
I’m actually not too upset about my lack of forward progress or my inability to reach this word count goal by the end of the month. The spirit is just to keep writing and putting words together. Doing research. Keeping your head in that space. So, it’s motivation. Given the other trials and tribulations of the month, I’m doing alright.
QUEST FOR THIS WEEK:
There’s another two day window where I DON’T HAVE MUCH TO DO. But that has equated in the past few weeks to all sorts of interruptions and myriad ways to fill my time.
Aside from house cleaning, a little house deconstruction at my sister’s, and a Saturday night board game party… there are at least a few hours of day and night time that I could devote to the book. I am tempering my optimism with a harsh dose of realism this weekend, judging by my track record. It’s not even procrastination anymore… if I just let life happen, people will fill in the spare time for me.
Dan and I were going over my excuses for not making any significant gains this week and I finally said, “There’s always an excuse not to write.”
CURRENT WORD COUNT: 59,722
REVISED GOAL: Reach 80,000 words for the month
GOAL FOR THE WEEK: Well, it’s basically the last week, aside from a few days over Thanksgiving weekend so uhm… I have nearly 20,000 words to go. The honest likelihood of typing that many words is slim to none, but you know, whatever. I would love to knock out a few more chapters. My protagonists current goal is to reach Houston, Texas. I’d like to get there with them.
Hit the weekend full throttle, with copious hours stretching before me to achieve the word count goal.
And the weekend hit back.
Last Saturday I was curled up with a kidney stone, hopped up on drugs for the pain. Not so fun, that. Somehow I managed to slog through 5,000 words, even totally doped up. And watched Thor: Dark World again. Because Thor.
THEN on Sunday, I had such best intention. SUCH BEST INTENTIONS.
But after running a few errands and settling in to bang away at the keyboard… all hell broke loose.
My mom came in to ask a question. My SIL showed up to collect a check and borrow a video game. My BIL showed up to collect a game system and borrow a video game.
Dan and our friend Griggs returned from the store and we snacked and chatted before they started armor building.
My buddy Smalls came over to drop off a doughnut and collect a mix CD.
At some point it became apparent I would get absolutely ZERO writing done that day (to be fair, I think one sentence was logged) and I just gave up and started checking some of the other items off the To Do List. Took down the Halloween decorations. Photo-shopped some pictures for a work project. Cleaned up the place a bit. Attempted to wrangle leaves off the walkway.
Basically – a bunch of crap I wouldn’t normally be compelled to do, but nothing makes you more productive than procrastination. Especially when it comes to writing.
By the time Monday hit, I was feeling really low because of the low word count and my general ineffectiveness with the 1up weekend.
But Huzzah!! Even with a side-trip for lunch with my sister, still managed to crank out another 5k, neatly wrapping up the action sequence I was so reluctant to start and barreling into a whole new chapter with added mystery and intrigue. Not giving any details on that one.
Finished up Chapter Seven and added a few bits to the beginning of Chapter 8 on the bus this morning. More personal and professional drama surfaced this week, plus evenings filled with a return to the exercise/gym routine and a work side project. Leading a double life of a novelist and a regular person is steadily depleting my mana.
Luckily our out-of town adventure this weekend consists of staying at a place with views of nature and electrical outlets.
QUEST FOR THIS WEEK:
Power through as much as I can. At the moment, the 100,000 word goal seems pretty far out of reach, so I’m going to settle for 80,000 for the month and see if I can’t hit that mark a little easier.
Current Word Count: 56,050
REVISED GOAL: 80,000 words for the month
GOAL FOR THE WEEK: 66,050, which means writing 10k for the week. This seems manageable. This seems so much more manageable.
What happened this week? WHAT HAPPENED?
I had such grand plans to focus and dedicate myself stridently to 2000 words a day.
Yeah. That didn’t happen. So here’s what did…
After a first day which consisted of NO NEW WORDS (but I did finish up reading the draft) – I finally had to admit to myself that in order to move ahead, I was going to have to lag behind and remove the last five pages of the story. I cut them out, pasted them into another document and retooled the last scene.
It was… painful. It was a painful admission because I had planned to just push ahead and go back to fix it later but my brain refused to allow me to commit any more words until I’d committed to those cuts.
So my word count was reduced, then I spent most of Saturday and a wee bit of Sunday beefing it back up.
Monday I started off with the best of intentions, but then personal drama completely derailed me. Not that I didn’t make an effort but it’s hard to type when tears keeping falling on your keyboard and your heart and brain are in totally different places.
As the inevitable clusterfuck of N7 Day and Thor on Thorsday approached, I sort of just gave up during this week.
ALSO: I found myself at another roadblock where I have the entire action sequence laid out but precisely zero interest or motivation with WRITING IT OUT. I verbally explained it to my spouse, so it’s not that I don’t know what’s going to happen in the scene. I just, I kinda don’t care. I know the outcome and I know that it’s a resting point for those particular characters while I jump to the “Plot B” of this book.
At this point, I’d rather just jump to Plot B and come back to finish up Plot A when I’m in the mood. I guess that goes against the grains of all the writing rules but you know what? No one else is writing this book, so I’ll do what I please. ;) The break has allowed me to do a lot of internal tooling of the main character and I’ve also decided I’m going to rework some of the earlier pieces. What I like about this particular stage of writing is that though I have a framework and outline to the story, when I’m writing things just kind of happen. Characters appear and take on a life and shape of their own. Decisions get made that I didn’t anticipate.
I like when my characters surprise me. Cause I think they will surprise the reader too.
THE GOAL FOR THIS WEEKEND:
Is to get back to my goal. To get back on track. Our beach trip plans were cancelled, so three completely open days stretch out before me. 72 hours of writing madness.
Current Word Count: 46,715
Where I Should Be: 55,386
GOAL FOR THE THREE-DAY WEEKEND: 61,386, which means writing an additional 14,671
“Don’t make me do this the hard way. Just take your medicine like a good boy,” I say, trying to affect sexy and charming. But there is too much fear and chaos happening to pull that off effectively. Rabbit’s not jumping at that bait. He is immune to my charms.
“Fine,” I snap, kneeing him in his privates. He opens his mouth with a gasp and I pop the pill past his lips, clasping my hand over his mouth and nose. He rolls to his side, curling in a fetal position and I tumble off into the grass, still keeping my grip.
“You have to swallow some time. Otherwise it’s going to dissolve in there,” I argue. “Either way, you need this.”
He shakes his head, the stubble from his cheeks rubbing roughly against my hands. Heat from his skin radiates all over my fingertips. He’s burning up with fever. It must be blood poisoning from his head wound or the NV in his system taking over.
After a full minute weakly struggling, thrashing his head, he gives up. I release my grip on him and roll over onto my back, panting. Searching the surrounding trees for signs of Prothero soldiers. I can’t hear them or see them yet, but I know they’re out there. I know they’re coming for us. Fast. We need to be fast.
“Drugs aren’t always going to be the answer,” Rabbit says with no particular inflection to his voice, his eyes dropping open. His pupils are already dilated to the size of saucers.
“Sure they are,” I respond, climbing to my feet.
Is upon me. Imminent. Happening today. So far I’ve not written a single word but I have seriously, SERIOUSLY started re-reading the manuscript and I’m almost done and THEN, I shall start writing. I haven’t done much to this book since November or December of 2012 and stopped, hovering ungainly around the 35,000 word mark and with my characters in a situation that I might *MIGHT* reverse course on.
But, in reading the last 72 hours I have determined that I will not make any changes to the current text, but I’ll just starting writing onto the end of it, knowing the changes that are to come as if they have already went.
If that makes any bit of sense. Which it kinda does…n’t. But that’s fine.
Anyways, I have a plan. But the cold medicine and the work-work are currently getting in the way. Also social obligations. But that’s it – aside from work and health and a full calendar of family and friend times… every other spare moment is devoted to writing.
But here we are again, my friends, blogging like a blogger should blog and gearing up for another insane month of insanity. I think I shall update on Fridays in the future. FRIDAYS FROM THE FUTURE. Or something slightly alliterative but quite authorly, and keep you all informed of the progress of not only this book, but of the first book in the series, which is completed and being read aloud to my spouse at the moment.
METAL HEART SYNOPSIS:
In a Dystopian future ruled by fear of a deadly virus, a young woman is orphaned after her parents die in a terrorist bombing. She is horribly disfigured by the same bombing and taken in as a ward of the global corporation, Prothero. They use her to test new medical nano technology, implanting her with an artificial heart, ear, eye, and arm. As a discarded experiment, she participates in mandatory national service while plotting a way to extract herself from Prothero’s clutches and rescue a friend from her past.
I have vowed it will not be sent anywhere until it graces his ears one final time. I know, he’s supposed to be the worst kind of critic because he’s my spouse but he’s the best and he doesn’t blow sunshine up my ass. Plus he pushes me to promote the damn thing which I could or would never, ever do myself. So there. He gets last dibs on any last minute plot shifts. Which will never happen because it’s done. Like, DONE DONE. Basically.
“Tin Road,” is not. This book is not even close.
Current Word Count: 39,386
Goal By End of Month: An additional 60,000 (2k a day)
TOTAL GOAL: 100k
Let’s do this.
BONUS POINTS: Here’s an excerpt from the current manuscript, the first few paragraphs of the first page of “Tin Road.”
Rabbit Santiago wants me to shoot him. It’s only with a hand-held EMP, and only to obscure the signal transmitting from the band around his wrist. But considering tonight I already shot and killed his best friend, it seems a tall and brutal order. I’m rooted to the spot, finger poised on the trigger when the sound of sirens stirs us. A hovercar is on it’s way, which means we need to be invisible. We hear the frightening wails before we see it mount the horizon, floating above the ground, moving like a flashing gray ghost. My finger twitches against the metal and the EMP gun kicks. Rabbit grits his teeth as the electricity canceling pulse sucks all the juice from the various tech instruments adorning his body.
“That hurts,” He grunts, rubbing at the glowing metal band around his wrist.
“It shouldn’t,” I say, crinkling my brow. Aside from a generally unpleasant feeling of static cling, the EMP guns are harmless.
“Well it does,” He snaps. “Now get down.” He grabs my arm and pulls us both to the earth. My knees hit the dirty grass first, my teeth biting into the rough soil. I let out a brief curse under my breath which I hope to hell Santiago hears. Then I spit out the nasty taste in my mouth.
His instincts aren’t bad. The hovercar rolls about a thousand yards past our position, towards the signal emitting from Clinton Fuller’s band. The RFID has called them here. Two floodlights attached to either side of the vehicle’s windshield kick on and the bodies become illuminated in eerie blue light. Beside me, still gripping my wrist with his fierce bony fingers, Rabbit sucks in a deep breath and blows it out. I catch a brief whiff of cinnamon, over-ridden immediately by the tang of sweat and metallic odor of blood. Clinton’s blood. We are covered in it.
“We need to get out of here,” I say, my vision locked on the scene. Neither of us moves. We’re transfixed by the steady motion of the machine and the fact that people are dead because of what we did tonight.
The “much coveted” door prize of our annual Oscar Party featured a DOUBLE CD filled with musical scores and lyrical jams from some of the best pictures of the year. And then a few that weren’t recognized by the academy, but stole our hearts anyway.
These tracks were lovingly compiled by myself and my buddy Smalls.
Here they are, in very particular order.
1. The Avengers Theme – Alan Silvestri (The Avengers)
2. Django – Luis Bacalov and Rocky Roberts (Django Unchained)
3. Horn of Plenty – James Newton Howard (The Hunger Games)
4. At The End of the Day – Les Miserables
5. Fate and Destiny – Patrick Doyle (Brave)
6. Come Away To the Water – Maroon 5 (The Hunger Games)
7. Lockdown – Paul Leonard-Morgan (Dredd)
8. Breadcrumbs – Thomas Newman (Skyfall)
9. Skyfall – Adele (Skyfall)
11. Under Hill – Howard Shore (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey)
12. Gotham’s Reckoning – Hans Zimmer (The Dark Knight Rises)
14. Tha Mo Ghaol Air Aird a Chuain (My Love Is On the High Seas) – Julie Fowlis (Brave trailer)
15. Gone – Ionna Gika (Snow White and the Huntsman)
16. Misty Mountains (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey trailer)
17. A Future for the Krogan – Christopher Lennertz (Mass Effect 3)
18. Learn Me Right – Birdy and Mumford & Sons (Brave)
19. Song of Mor’du – Patrick Doyle (Brave)
20. Blunt the Knives (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey)
21. Cups – Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect)
2. Brass Buttons – Howard Shore (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey)
3. Grand Bazaar, Istanbul – Thomas Newman (Skyfall)
4. Who Did That To You? – John Legend (Django Unchained)
5. Why Do We Fall? – Hans Zimmer (The Dark Knight Rises)
6. I Dreamed a Dream – Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)
7. Plus Que Ma Prope Vie – Carter Burwell (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part Two)
10. Healing Katniss – James Newton Howard (The Hunger Games)
11. Cover Your Tracks – A Boy and His Kite (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part Two)
12. Silver Lining Titles – Danny Elfman (Silver Linings Playbook)
13. Kingdom Come – Coldplay (The Amazing Spider-Man)
14. End Crawl – Nick Cave and Warren Ellis (Lawless)
15. Freedom – Anthony Hamilton and Elayna Boynton (Django Unchained)
16. Touch The Sky – Julie Fowlis (Brave)
17. I’m Proud of You – Sam Hulick (Mass Effect 3)
18. Misty Mountains – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
I am too lazy right now to create a YouTube playlist, but each track is linked to its corresponding video if it existed (for as long as that is up on the internet).
I ended up with extra physical copies of the mix if anyone is interested. Send me your address and I promise to mail you a copy in a totally non-stalkery weird way.
Holy crap, this blog is a ghost town. I’m not gonna ride in with promises like every other time I’ve restarted this venture. But I’m gonna post an entry today. And see how it goes from there. How does that sound?
HERE WE GO FOLKS:
1. Enter the Rose City Comic Con Costume Contest with a Mass Effect related costume.
This should be pretty obvs but I really want to build N7 armor this year and yeah…this needs to happen. Hopefully a second job will mean reasonable income and I CAN DO THIS.
2. Join the Vaginal Fantasy Book Club.
BECAUSE IT’S CALLED VAGINAL FANTASY BOOK CLUB. And I watched one of their video-chat-meetups and they are hilarious ladies whom I aspire to be. Which is sad because they’re my age (or younger) and they’re rich and famous and smart and motivated. I am sad and humbled. So I’m joining their book club to be more awesome like them.
3. Read at least three comic book titles a month.
I’m not usually into odd numbers but three is better than one and more reasonable than five. My problem with comics has always been TOO MUCH. I get amped up and overwhelm myself with titles and then I can’t afford them or can’t afford the time.
4. Play a new video game series.
I’m in love with several franchises, but I need to expand my horizon a bit. I’d like to find at least one new game that really moves or inspires me this year and add it to the collection. I’m sure muh spouse and my good friend will help in achieving this goal.
5. Make another tattoo appointment.
It’s time. My poor Phoenix has been patiently awaiting new ink for the entirety of the 2012 year and received nothing in return. In fact, I think 2011-2012 were pretty barren years for her in general. I’d like to change that. At some point this year – I would like to get back in the hot seat and finish up my ink.
6. Purchase and start having artists create pieces for a sketch book.
It would be cool to have my own personal book, one for Dan, and then another that we both share. I was thinking Phoenix, at first, because of the tattoo but now I’m really drawn to drawerings of Thor. Mass Effect is probably a bit too obscure for most artists. Dan would probably choose Hellboy. MAN, I really want to do this now. ECCC is coming up in March and kicks off the convention season in the Pacific Northwest. We’d need to get on the ball with this one.
7. Take the comic writing class from Brian Michael Bendis.
Finally. Put my mouth and money where my heart is. Or my heart where my mouth is. Either way, it’s gonna cost money.
8. Join up with a writing group/workshop.
This sounds much less nerdy than the others, but is blog and comic book and author related, so I’ll let it remain. It would be nice to have a group of people I don’t know helping me improve my writing. YES PLEASE.
Done. Even if more are floating around in my brain…eight is enough. This entry is enough. I hope to be around a lot more this year. I hope to be better at life this year. 2012 was kind of weird and shitty.
After dusting off the blog and posting this week, I thought the Mass Effect playlist seemed a little lonely, and was reminded I’d crafted a similar item for Dragon Age: Origins.
This is mostly effective towards the Alistair/Warden camp, but feel it could be appropriate for most FemWardens and their love interests. Perhaps. I dunno. Sheeit.
Here it goes:
1. White Blank Page – Mumford and Sons
2. Breath of Life – Florence and The Machine
3. Run Boy Run – Woodkid
4. The Next Time You Say Forever – Neko Case
5. Dark Moon, High Tide – Afro Celt Sound System
6. Poison and Wine – The Civil Wars
7. Lodestar – Sarah Harmer
8. Gray Stables – Iron and Wine
9. Grown Unknown – Lia Ices
10. Lovers – David Gray
11. Gold Dust Woman – Fleetwood Mac (for Morrigan)
12. Road – Nick Drake
13. Good Woman – Cat Power
There’s also a YouTube playlist for those interested parties. And while I’m at it, I’d love to suggest reading the Dragon Age: The Silent Grove comic book which is supposedly a bridge story between DAO, DAII and the next installment. It features characters from both series, introduces some newbies and has, as promised by the title, DRAGONS. I spotted in TFAW in hardback form while picking up a beautiful, gorgeous Garrus Vakarian action figure. Yes, had to name drop Garrus. Frakking stud.
I’ve embarked on an incredibly awesome or incredibly lame journey (you decide) to replay all the Assassin’s Creed games up to the release of the “third” installment of the series. I began this quest on my 30th birthday and ended the first game this weekend.
It was a pleasant surprise to return to the original and refresh the story a bit.
Here are a few ruminations from a second helping of Assassin’s Creed:
1. Altair’s Voice: Is the first thing you notice. Or at least, the first thing I did. It’s so…wrong. It sounds like a blonde Californian man strolled into the middle east straight off the University of California Berkeley campus. It doesn’t seem to bother the majority of fans, but it does rankle me. Especially when all the other characters surrounding Altair HAVE middle eastern accents. I just…it makes no sense! Every time I hear him speaking, I can do nothing but think of Paul Walker from the Fast & Furious franchise. It’s terribly distracting.
2. Throwing Knives: Granted, it’s been multiple years, but I didn’t recall the glory of the throwing knives quite so much the first time around. This is a delightful trick that was seriously under-utilized in most of my other play-throughs, including the entire Ezio saga. Ah, to leap across rooftops and fling knives effortlessly to destroy guards and enemies. Woooot.
3. Desmond Miles: I got a little more mileage (heh) out of him this time. The last go round I didn’t steal Vedic’s pen or hack my way into the conference room. I don’t really even remember reading anyone else’s emails besides Lucy’s. Knowing the culmination of all this information, it’s intriguing to go back through the series and see how everything lines up. So far, so good. Anywho…I hung out with Desmond more. If the series suffers from a lack of anything, it’s Desmond. He’s an interesting character who gets side-lined by his assassin ancestors a bit too much.
4. Repeated phrases: Wow, does this game suffer from limited dialogue choices. “Thief, you are filth!” Has been a common phrase uttered around our home recently. The priests all rant about the same stuff. Even the same lines are recycled when you rescue the victims from the constant torment of the guards…speaking of which.
It would be more than fair to say that roughly 50% of my interest in RPGs come from the ability to romance different characters. Indeed, some of the worst parts of the gameplay (the Mako in ME1, the Fade in DA:O) are over-ridden and muddled through strictly because I know some gooey romance scenes await on the other side.
I am shameless and give no fucks about this particular aspect of my gaming life.
For my first playthroughs of both games, I decided to be classicly boring and stick with the relatively white bread, stoic, heterosexual male/female pairings. Because those were inevitably going to be canon and being canon is it’s own compelling force. And romancing a woman seemed like fulfilling fanboy fantasies, rather than developing a deep emotional relationship between two same-sex characters (I’ll comment more on same-sex playthroughs later, but I was proven wrong).
Anywho, here I am, a racially indistinct character in both playthroughs and my options are British ginger Alistair Thierin and Kaidan Alenko who has dark hair, eyes, and dark skin. Sort of a Russian last name. I’m sticking to my guns that Ashley and Kaidan are POCs. So, I guess that kicks the white breadness to the curb as far as ME is concerned. Overall, ME is much more populated with POCs and Aliens. Space racism doesn’t seem to exist 200 or so years from now. GJ humanity.
But there are so, so many white people in DA:O. Anyone who isn’t a Qunari, Elf or Dwarf is a white person. Aside from some questionable accents (Zevran Arainai sounds like Antonio Banderas) most of these different species are portrayed as having white facial features.
OK, now that we have race out of the way…
What else makes these dudes so incredibly typical and basically boring?
I’m back…for now. I was sucked into a Bioware vortex for the last month or so and played through the entire Mass Effect trilogy *twice* and also chalked up both Dragon Age games as well. Sooo, writing and a social life and basic hygiene have really suffered.
No really, I’m clean and in relatively good mental health now (though I still spend a ridiculous amount of time stalking the Garrus tag on Tumblr). And, as with all great fandoms in which music plays a key role (or none at all), I have emerged on the other side of this month-long hedonism with a pretty frakking awesome playlist.
You can also listen to the YouTube playlist here, if you are feeling so inclined.
This is not to disparage the most amazing video game soundtrack ever (with Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood coming a close second) or all the amazing fan-made music I’ve stumbled upon and loved in the last month.
There is so much great art being made for this fandom, and I’ve even met some cool new local artist peeps in the process. So, life is extraordinarily good right now, which means I have no excuse to NOT blog.
Making a playlist has helped purge me of some of my angstier ME feels, and I’m not ashamed to admit I’m on a third playthrough will full intentions to romance Liara. But…I still might end up with Garrus. He’s my space husband. I guess Liara is my space wife? I think I might cheat on her in ME2. Because Garrus.
I’ve been keeping tabs on Tumblr about some of my game-play antics, but since this is my “official” blog, it might be nice to capture some of the insanity here too, in which I’m not copiously fangirling over pictures of Garrus drinking tea or making cupcakes or canoodling in bed or…ahem, you get the idea. Here is where logic and order reigns supreme. Where things are liberally dissected.
I’ll put up a couple posts with brief reviews of my first two playthroughs this week and maybe next week some thoughts about Dragon Age vs Mass Effect. It will be fun kiddos, I promise.
Clearly, I’ve had a lot of time to consider my re-entry into normal life. So here’s hoping I can be a regular blogger again.