Tag Archives: Rambling

Nearly-Noon Writing/Holiday Update

Maidin mhaith, two people who read my writing updates!

Been hard at work since like seven-ish. No plans today to get in the way, eating some waffles, so this has been a great day thus far. Finishing up Chapter Seven, dreading moving into Chapter Eight, the first of three slash-and-burn chapters (chapters that are unusable in the next revision). I am fairly confident, though, this one should go rather smoothly. There is a lot to fix, but what doesn’t work is fairly obvious so I should be able to fix it more easily than I think.

We’ll see.

But as a reward, if I get through it I make it to Chapter Nine (which is actually being split into Chapters Nine and Ten, I think). And those are likely going to be really fun to do as well. So I am excited.

I can do this.

I also understand that today is Christmas Eve, I wish everyone following a great set of Holidays, regardless of when/how/why you celebrate any combination of them.  Brigid shot down my plan of building a giant Yule Goat in the cul de sac and then ritualistically burning it in praise of Thor, so my holiday break has been a little uneventful.

Beannachtaí na bhFéile Daoibh!

Mid-Day Thoughts

Maidin mhaith!

Word count is climbing, I’ve been writing since 7:30, so plenty of time. Plus I still have the rest of the day ahead of me. But now is as good as a time as any to stop and write down some thoughts that I’ve been ignoring lately.

First, writing is much, much easier when you have already written it before. I find myself much more willing to rewrite than I had first expected. When I first deleted my entire first book (in a separate, new file mind you) I suspected that I’d be about 30% “new” stuff and 70% “old” stuff. I find myself much closer to 50/50 if not actually favoring to write completely new material.

And I haven’t even hit any of the “bad” chapters yet. When that happens I might run the counter all the way to 100% new! Who knows, but I feel good about the Mark III (as I’ve been found of calling it).

Unfortunately the changes might force my already paid-for cover to essentially become unusable. I’ll mull that around a bit.

 

Meanwhile, in sports, Newcastle continues to sail down the rails like an out-of-control rollercoaster headed toward disaster. All three of our keepers have been injured in the last week, the big derby is tomorrow, a keeper finally got off the bench and it is our triple fall-back. Completely blew our chance at the cup by losing to a team we had already sank this year.

Manager Pardew continues to prove that only he can be awarded “Manager of the Month” while in a four-game losing streak (for the previous month after five wins seemed to completely turn our chances around). For fuck’s sake I hate him. His inconsistent leaning toward losing. But apparently five wins and is enough to completely overlook months of constant failure and dismay, despite a return to his normal form.

I don’t know what he’s doing at training but all the fucking injuries that are coming out of that pitch makes me think he is walking around beating everyone with a cane.

 

On the Detroit side of things, perennial pain in our ass and complete failure of an owner Dan Duggan is once again promising a USL Pro team in 2016 and he’s even building a stadium in Detroit. By which I’m assuming Pontiac because he can actually afford that. I really wish he’d just fall of a financial cliff and disappear forever.

The good guys however are rapidly expanding. Season ticket sales are rumored to be coming up to a sales cap in order to ensure that tickets can still be sold at the gate. It might actually hurt our financials because season tickets are so much cheaper for us and them.

However, to help compensate, DCFC gear is going retail. A local sports chain here has started carrying gear and tickets, which is absolutely awesome. Brigid and I have talked a few times about how you know that the team is really getting acceptance and having your stuff in retail was a huge part of that.

I will admit being worried that our grass-roots movement might take a battering from corporate asshats like Duggan, but I think if we can persevere we’ll make it through the storm in the end. But sitting in the past looking forward is much scarier than sitting in the future looking back.

Word count will be posted at the end of the day. Spoiler alert, I’ll likely break into five digits.

Slán!

Cartography

Been doing a lot of book stuff but very little involved writing. Mostly been working on my maps.

Brigid once pointed out another blog post to me where someone had written a piece on the sins of fantasy writers. One of the points made was essentially “Maps were Tolkien’s thing. You aren’t Tolkien. Ergo, don’t do Tolkien’s thing.”

I have several problems with this.

First. I love maps. So fuck you, random internet person.

Fuckyouzard

Second. Their entire piece was “No one is as good as Tolkien” copy-pasted until it was slightly shorter than War and Peace, which is admittedly shallow-minded and also debatable at its core.

Third. Seriously, who died and made them king of fantasy? Fuck you random internet person who I can’t bother looking up.

Maps and fantasy go hand-in-hand. Our world has maps, why wouldn’t a fantasy world? Maps are a great window into the human condition. From racial segregation, to the pride of nations. From isolated languages, to internet traffic in every corner of the world. Maps convey history, science, sociology, greed, adventure, stupidity, and the power to unite. A map can show the lines than humans have drawn over centuries of bloodshed, or in an instant erase them completely and show us as fleas on the side of an elephant.

A map in the first few pages of a novel might have trouble showing that sort of emotion. Without an known history, a history linked to who we are, a map might fall a little flat. Someone from Poland is going to see their western border in a very different way then the border between North and South Korea. Even if they were too young to experience either of the wars that set them.

It is the job of an author to make people care about the little map at the beginning. Whether it is of a continent, or a single mountain by a lake.

But, in a more pragmatic way, a map is a great way to show scale to a reader. Without context a hike from New York to Chicago can be five miles, fifty miles, five hundred miles. We know that it is a long way to hike. But we know that through experience and from looking at it on a map.

I think that if you are going to drop enough place names – actual, proper place names like “Main Street” or “Edinburgh” or “Poland” – it is important to use a map. ‘Enough,’ of course, is the key word. Use your brain, I can’t do it for you. But if a character just walks from “home” to “the grocer” and distance isn’t important, yeah leave the map on the desk.

Hmmm, I’m think about that urban sort of setting. Can a map help?

Eh… I won’t say no. I love maps.

Just -and this is a  general complaint about naming places- put some thought into your names. I read the first book of the Codex Alera series by the well-known Jim Butcher. The map drove me crazy because I recognized several of the place names and it took me out of “fantasy” world and put me more in the mind set of “this person apparently assumes I’ve never cracked open a history book ever.”

That is definitely something I’d avoid. Given that series was based on a challenge given to him to write something based off two “lame” ideas given by someone on the internet, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if some of the place names were after-thoughts. Still. “Aquitaine” is totally a place in France. Still is. Hard to think of it in a world of magic but that is totally a personal complaint; not bashing on Mr. Butcher.

Also, to the (other) guy on the internet who thinks Pokémon and the “Lost Legion” trope are lame.

Fuckyouzard

As a game Pokémon is a lot of fun. If it is “lame” because it lacks depth or complexity, I’d say you are wrong (look up competitive builds and you’ll get the depth to the engine) and also having a less linear story/game-play is great for that an RPG. Wish they’d stop trying to shoe-horn their shitty writing into it.

The lost legion trope is fun, I wish they’d stop doing it with Legio Nona Hispana, that story is played-out. Honor and soldiery tropes, there is a lot to do there and a lot of things you can do to make it unique. Plus the idea of a larger, vastly superior force being ground to paste by a smaller, native population has some great historical baggage to bring along with it.

As subtle as a brick through a store window.

Reread Your Work

Been writing this morning. I fell about a thousand words short of my goal last night but some things came up that couldn’t be avoided as easily as Facebook.

Decided to try to make a made scramble to catch up today. Am I going to make it? Maybe. Not that I care. All my deadlines are artificial constructs of my own mind.

So, in a pause between chapters I decided to re-read one of my previous chapters to reset my tone and consistency. I do this a lot. I love to reread my work. I specifically write what I want to read. I don’t read a lot. A book or two a year is pushing it for me. I was barely able to drag myself through high school “English” (read: “Reading”). There is only so many times I could read a book I hated and write a five-paragraph BS essay every few chapters.

I’ll bitch about fivers later.

So I lost a lot of interest in reading because to me it was all associated with the pain of over-analysis. Nothing is fun to read if some mad-woman is stopping you every few lines to ask you what it means and why it was done that way. I don’t know bitch, maybe he was being paid by the word and all those words contribute to a higher pay cheque. (Pro-tip: never suggest to your English teacher that Nathaniel Hawthorne was being paid by the word.)

This led to the golden-age of my childhood writing. I was writing the equivalent to a novel every year or so. That is a lot for a kid. I’d hardly finish what I’d start, writing a third of a novel and moving onto the next third. I did this for five years (counting the first year of middle school) until I went off to college, by which time I had started my serial publishing.

Everything I write, including this, will be read and reread countless times by me. I write what I want to read and so I get great enjoyment out of rereading my stuff over and over again.

Echo_and_Narcissus

The comparison is inevitable.

After I finished a bit of rereading I checked twitter and got the following tweet on my feed:

I’m sorry. I completely disagree. If it said “editing” I’d still disagree but to a much lesser degree. What you need to avoid is over-analyzing everything you do. Reread all you want. Get back into your character’s heads, remember what motivates them, what they were trying to accomplish right before you stopped. Reread your favorite bits because it can inspire you to keep going.

Yes it is a first draft, yes you can change anything later. But it is later. Changing a piece because the necessary change is on your mind is important. Don’t let that idea fade. Act on it. If you characters are in a pickle because of some stupid choice last chapter, change it. Don’t “wait until the editor gets to it.” Do it now. Your editor isn’t your ghost writer.

Reread your work, it isn’t a bogey man hiding in the dark. It is a creation that requires attention. And no attention is more important than yours. Just don’t write fivers every few pages.

Becoming an Icon

I mentioned some sports (I also mentioned being a writer but that can wait) and I want to talk some sports. Specifically I want to talk about becoming an icon of a city.

Now there is already a great blog specifically on Detroit City from a supporter’s view, it is called Boys in Rouge and I highly recommend it to those interested in the growth and soul behind our great team. I also recommend it if you want opinion and well-researched facts. This is a place for opinion.

I want you to read this tweet and then I’ll give you some background.

The Apostolopoulos family is a Toronto-based group that owns a lot of property in Metro Detroit, top of the list is the Silverdome (a complete wreck of a building in Pontiac) and also the State Savings Bank, a historic building in downtown. They are also the number one advocate for bringing MLS (Major League Soccer) to Detroit. Paints it in a different light, eh? DCFC knows its supporters have its back. It sees many of them calling out the Apostolopouloses on their bullshit attempts to both “invest” in Detroit while simultaneously trying to tear it down. There is no fear there. Detroit City looked a potential investor in the face and burned that bridge so readily, so quickly, and so fearlessly I can’t really help but be very proud. Detroit isn’t some dime-an-hour hooker to be partitioned and sold, no matter what Lansing or people like the Apostolopouloses want to believe. It is our city.

I can already hear some of you getting ready to rebuke me. Tell me about business plans and how all investors are alike and how teams should shut up and just play sports.

Fuck you.

That is the wrong attitude. That is the attitude that lets racist bullshit like the Redskins and Cleveland Indians exist into 2014. A team isn’t supposed to be just a business venture. It is supposed to be a little piece of a city’s soul, stitched together like a quilt made from those who wake up early, don their colors, drag their friends and family, and stand in the smoke and fire of the game.

Detroit City has done so much right. So much. They put vets back on their feet. They support our schools. They were proud to support LGBT teens in our city and wear kits donned with rainbows against a foe known for using homophobic language. And when people would tear down our city and our history they stood up in a small way with a picture of Jerry Seinfeld.

Because it isn’t about appeasing every investor – bending down a licking the hand that might feed. It is about that little slice of the city that is your soul. That’s why when Detroit City goes out onto a field they are marked by the Spirit of Detroit. Because if not them, then who? Certainly not the Wings, Lions, Tigers, or Pistons. They need fucks like the Apostolopouloses to sit in their court-side seats while the real fans can hardly afford the nose-bleeds.

And we are okay with that. We as Americans are okay with the idea that fans should shut up, sit down, golf clap when the jumbotron says so, and if you so much as think about doing anything more than the wave then the polite gentlemen with the badges and guns will show you to the door.

Why is that good? Why is what we have bad. Pro-tip. It isn’t. People will keep telling themselves that it is bad. Bad for a team to embody more than a business professionalism. Bad for supporters to chant and sing. Bad for people to stand. Bad for drums and coarse language. Bad to set off smoke after goals. Bad to tetris and bad to leave with no voice.

Bad to be an icon.

Well it isn’t. And the fucking line has been drawn. Detroit City Football Club isn’t becoming an icon, it is an icon.

 

Edit:
Detroit City still has its claws out, apparently:

Work in Progess

I guess this is where one would normally say “welcome to the site check back later when I am done fiddling with things.” Chances are I’ll never be done fiddling with things so…

This is my site. It is rather barren right now as I work with a good friend of mine learning tips of the trade when it comes to working on this. Eventually you’ll see my (usually) NC-17-ish twitter handle and get to listen to me talk about things I care about such as: my wife, my job, my writing, my sports, my house. “Normal” stuff. I’ll probably also talk about other cool stuff and some stuff you won’t care about but I do.

So there.

Welcome to my site. Sit down. Buckle up.