Saturday, November 29, 2008

Applying What You've Learned

'River of Bones' has powered past 9000 words and I've had another chance to apply some of my own writing lessons to it. The story is expanding and evolving and I've added in some scenes with the bad guys. Necessarily then, they've needed to become more than knife sponges for the hero. Instead of making them all sympathetic with back stories of their own and mothers who love them, I decided to add conflict amongst them. I changed them into a band of people who are not really working together but rather are cautiously allied for potential mutual gain. There's a big difference in the motivations now. This all goes back to a lesson about interesting writing coming from adding conflict. Typically, we genre writers think of that as more danger for the hero. I thought it might be interesting to add some danger to the villains that wasn't just coming from the edge of the hero's weapons.

But really, this all stems from the fact that I needed scenes to weave between the hero's journey that is the main story. Non-stop narrative from the hero's point of view gets a little boring. Switching around and following different characters makes for much more engaging reading. Thus the birth of the B-story.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Two Little Known Laws of Thanksgiving

1. The Seattle Seahawks cannot play any better no matter how much national attention is brought upon them.

2. Laying on a couch in a semi-conscious state is open invitation for any child under 13 to leap up and bring down all their weight on your unsuspecting body. Twice.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Angel of War

When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior." --Judges 6:12

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Reasons For Blogging

This discussion comes up among writers every now and again. The two camps usually divide into Waste-Of-Precious-Timers versus So-What-It's-Funners. A recent post over at my new favorite blog of the week, Tales From the Raven, contains one of my comments on the issue as well as some other comments that are much more thoughtful and intelligent. Check out the rest of Suanne's blog as well, it's good. (Although I'm not sure how a blonde got the nickname 'Raven.') You also have to follow the links to her stories, especially "Storm's Rising." It shows why Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego has a ban on all sorcerers. Sort of. (And hey, how cool is it to have a last name Warr?"

Saturday, November 22, 2008

My Ears Are Still Ringing

Last night I had the duty of taking Sons Number One and Two along with their cousin to see The Classic Crime at the Showbox next to Pike Place Market in Seattle. The concert had a few different bands and I think they were all competing to see how freakin' loud they could get. Even sitting towards the back did not help. It must be encroaching middle age but the last few songs were almost unbearable. Also, watching the spastic frenzy of the energy drink fueled mosh pit hurt me from thirty feet away. Yikes.

At least the young ones thought it was really swell. Me, I think I would have had more fun waiting in the minivan.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fun With Brutality

Now I'm up to 7200 words on 'River of Bones' and the big fight scene is just warming up. It's a bone crunching (literally) smash fest that is long on spine jarring punches and short on connecting with your inner child. You just can't have this kind of fun if you're writing for Cricket Magazine, which is one of the reasons I like the heroic fantasy genre.

Monday, November 17, 2008

CSFF November Tour

This month we have Shade by John Olson. This book is another entry in the spooky thriller category that illustrates the spiritual warfare going on all around us all the time. Unfortunately, most of us are blind to it until it thrusts just a little deeper into the skin of our world.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fighters Fight

'River of Bones' is now up to 6500 words and I've just decided to keep expanding it until it feels like it should stop. I'm not exactly sure where that is but I'm going to trust my instincts and just keep going. Hopefully there will be a publishable story at the end of it all. Part of the inspiration comes from watching 'Rocky Balboa' last night. This is a great movie and it's all about doing what it takes. In one scene Rocky explains to his son that being a man is not about hitting hard, it's about how hard you can get hit and still get back up. A great line comes from one of the supporting characters when she tries to tell Rocky that he should get back in the ring one more time: "Fighters fight."

Seems like a pretty good way to live your life. Writers write. Managers manage. Fathers father. Husbands husband. You can spend a gazillion dollars on therapy and watch Dr. Phil until your brain is scrambled beyond recognition or you can just shut the hell up and do what you're supposed to do.

Great philosophy comes from unexpected places.

Friday, November 14, 2008

River of Bones Update

I've been thinking and writing and backspacing and thinking again on this story. It is the fun and frustrating time of the creative process. While I feel like I've settled into a good line of attack, I'm watching the word count climb and I'm not sure where it's going to end. I'm up to 5700 words now and that's getting to be a bit long for current tastes in short fiction. I'll keep hammering away at it and see what shape it takes; I'll either end up with a work of art or a battered and bruised lump of pig iron. I suppose both have their uses.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Aaron LaMere and The Blackstones

No, not a title to a new dark fantasy story. This is a great indie worship band that I discovered last night at a local concert. Playing under a few names with a few different incarnations, these guys are excellent. LaMere is a solid singer-songwriter and an amazing guitarist. The music has depth and power and evokes all the right emotions at all the right times. It's the kind of music I quickly identify with because it's exactly what I try to achieve with my writing. I want a message to be transferred to the reader, even if it's one they made up themselves. Also, since it is societally unacceptable to stand on a bridge and bash in the brains of a horde of murdering savages I like to let the reader experience that (or something similar to that) through a cleverly told story. Not that The Blackstones give you that same feeling, but it's close. In a Godly, worshipful sort of way.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

We Now Return to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

I had an interesting idea for a story last Halloween. (By the way, watching Son Number Three as a fierce dragon is a laugh riot.) It's really just an opening line that popped into my head: Paul Maybey dug the grave that his daughter would soon fill. I envisioned a moody piece with dark and shadow with an image of an older man slowly digging a grave. I got about 500 words into it before I had to make a run to the airport and haven't gotten around to returning to it. If inspiration strikes some cold wintry night, I just might see where it leads.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yea Socialism!!!

Comrade!! Good news from the Western Front! The greedy capitalist American pigdogs have elected someone who can spread their wealth around and move them towards a European style collectivism. A healthy majority of them have become so programmed to look to government for the solutions to all their problems they've slowly stopped being able to rely on themselves. With their supremacy waning, with their drive and ingenuity giving way to dependence and submission, with fierce independence turning towards a more worldly and cooperative mediocrity we will soon have achieved everything we have always dreamed. A suicide rate like France! An unemployment rate like Germany! They have sought for change and now they're going to get it! Good News!

[This post brought to you in compliance with a future retroactive Fairness Doctrine]

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Here We Go...

Well, it's all been leading up to this. It is Election Day here in America. It's kind of surreal that the day is finally upon us, since we seem to have become accustomed to never ending campaigns. As for tonight, my prediction is: Speculation regarding who the candidates will be for 2012 starts sometime after midnight.