Saturday, October 31, 2009

T-minus less than two hours

Less than two hours to go until yet another Halloween passes by and I can officially begin my NaNoWriMo novel.

Halloween was pretty quiet on my street this year, only a handful of kids came, mostly in groups. One four or five year old proceeded to grab a large handful of candy as I was telling him "You can take a.... couple. OK, then." He looked up at me, and without a word ran back to his parent who were holding his bag. All the other kids were polite, saying "thanks" even when they grabbed a handful instead of a couple. We're still left with half a cauldron of candy, which Catherine and I will split between our offices and let the hungry hordes descend upon.

So, NaNo is imminent, and I've gotten very little done in the way of plotting. Right at the start I'm thinking I won't hit the 50,000 word mark. That's all right, however, a start is what I need this year so whatever I end up with is good.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

NaNoWriMo update: The Greatest Year

Made a little progress on my story notes today during lunch, think I might have a hook into the first book. This is good because the first book will set the tone for the three subsequent ones in the series, and it was the one I knew almost the least about (that honor belongs to the final one). Books two and three are centered around holidays so I have lots of fodder, but the first one takes place during summer, and the Fourth of July just isn't that exciting for me.

The post subtitle--The Greatest Year--is the name of the entire series. Actually, it's more of a working title that I can use here, which because I'm lazy I will shorthand TGY1 for the first book even though I hate when they do that with movie titles.

I'll reveal more as I go about writing it, so you get a better sense of what it is without spilling the beans wholesale. In the meantime, all you need to know is it's an adventure that takes a kid from the last vestiges of childhood to the brink of adulthood; with fallen friends and lost family, in a setting that's less than familiar, but still feels of home.

Unless I change my mind. Then your guess is as good as mine.

Camera Culture

I only recently discovered This American Life, Ira Glass' seminal radio show about, uhm, life in America. Each week's show centers around a particular theme, examining it from various points of view through stories and essays.

Now I say "recently" discovered, but only in the I've-actually-started-listening-to-it recently sense. I first heard of This American Life when Showtime produced a six episode series back in 2007. A cursory look into the series sparked my interest. I had learned it sprang from a radio show, and told interesting stories about people and ideas and other assorted things, but simply never got around to it.

A few weeks back I was listening to the Search Engine podcast, hosted Jesse Brown, and he interviewed Glass about his career in radio, noting that he was one of his heroes. Curiosity piqued again, and my growing love of podcasts providing the perfect vehicle to find out more, I subscribed to TAL's feed and became a fan.

Tonight I came upon this YouTube clip (via Boing Boing, another on my internet loves, and the inspiration for a future blog post) from the Showtime series, though I'm not sure which episode. It's animated by Chris Ware, cartoonist of Acme Novelty Library fame, and tells the tale of school kids and fake cameras and how it all went horribly wrong...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Devil's Dogs (and a llama)

Not those Devil Dogs. Though I imagine these are dry on the outside and squishy on the inside as well.

Via The Art of M. S. Corley. He's also done some pretty awesome mock book covers for Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia and other series.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Eight Days...

...and counting.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 and a change of direction

After not being able to really able to devote the time necessary since I discovered it a couple of years ago, this year I'm going to do NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month! What is that you ask? I'll let them explain (click through to the site for further info):

What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month's time.

Who: You! We can't do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let's write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.

Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era's most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.

My biggest decision to make after deciding to do it was figuring out which of the several suitable backburner projects to pursue: 1) The near future genre mash up with giant monsters, luchadores, Lovecraftian creatures, alien invaders and more; or 2) a contemporary horror/thriller set in a city you can’t easily escape; or 3) a YA novel about a boy whose twelfth year takes several unexpected turns (there's some magic in it, but it will most likely be of the wonderment kind since he's not a magician). The first two are pretty massive undertakings, containing large worlds inhabited with lots of characters and I haven't had too much opportunity to really think them out yet. That's what knocked them out of contention.

The YA book, well, it's a bit smaller in scale (even though it is the first of four) and somewhat more fleshed out in my head. I've just over a week to get down further notes, ideas etc. (you can't start actually writing until November 1st), and plan to spend part of this weekend doing just that. At the end of each day you're supposed to update your word count on their site, I'll do it here as well, perhaps with occasional excerpts and updates on the action. The goal is 50,000 words in 30 days. Tough on a full time Day Job, but not impossible. I'm excited for the challenge, and the new direction in my writing.

That new direction comes at a price, however. I've posted before about my involvement with the upcoming Planet of the Apes novel, as well as my own creator owned comic series, both produced by the company I co-founded--BLAM! Ventures--and the latter to be published by Archaia. For reasons mainly personal, as of October 1st I have left BLAM! and both of those projects. It was a difficult decision, but one a long time coming and which I believe will be best for myself and for BLAM! Ventures in the long run.

My friend and BLAM! partner Drew Gaska has been stewarding these projects and more at BLAM! for a while now, and I know he will bring you nothing less than the highest quality entertainment. When they arrive I will be trumpeting them to all who will hear, and I will be eagerly awaiting to see the final product myself.

The funny thing about all of this is for the longest time I have been disheartened with my writing life and fully expected to back away for months at the very least before trying again. A week ago, though, I saw the link to NaNoWriMo and the spark I got quickly spread to flame. I feel a desire to write that I haven't in years. It may not last, I may fall back to where I was before on the brink of giving it up, but for now the words call to me again. And I believe I am back in the business of listening to them.

Nine days and counting...

Personally I don't care for the word

But since the holidays are coming, I figure I can make an exception.

Let's hear it for randomly placed objects!