Halfway through 2018!

Earlier this year I posted my goals for the year, here they are again:
**Finish new sci-fi short and begin submitting it
**Continue writing and working on novel
**Be more consistent on the blog
**Continue the application process to bring fiancée into the country
**Travel across the world, collect fiancée and bring her home
**GET MARRIED
**Be happily married
**Switch shifts at work

Soon after posting this list it changed, such is the way I suppose. I realized quick that the short story was really flawed and wasn’t working. I could make it work but seeing as I’m not a huge fan of short stories, I felt fake putting so much into writing something I don’t enjoy. I do like writing them but reading them is often a chore. I probably just haven’t found the right collection or writer. So that story is safely tucked away until I decide it’s time to revisit. There is an idea worth revisiting there, character is the problem.
I finished the third draft of my first novel on June 10th 2018. I believe I can complete the thing by the end of the year and be querying agents before 2019. I’m not backtracking with it again by rewriting from the jump like I have before. The foundation is set, time to go into the smaller details.
As far as the blog is concerned, I’ve been more active than I think I have in a long time. Not sure I’m consistent, more like haphazardly posting things. It might be an accidental pattern. The problem is when I get sucked into a draft, I don’t think about the blog.
The rest of the above bullet-points are all under one umbrella, I just didn’t want to have one bullet-point because it’s far from one item. The things I have listed above don’t even begin to cover it. Her and I have decided to wait until the spring because getting married in the winter sounds like a fucking drag (that’s an understatement). The first stage of the paperwork should be finalized somewhere around September and by then we should have more of a timetable/plan for the rest of the things that feed into us finally being together for real. In a nutshell, I’m getting married next year!
Oh and the job, um… hopefully next year for that as well. I’m waiting on that as well.

This is the halfway point of the year and I think I’m doing okay with it all. There’s always room for improvement. I’ve written somewhere around 80,000 words so far this year. At the end of May, I did try to go without a “zero day”, as in words written. I didn’t quite make it a full month so new goal is to start with July 1st and try to go the rest of the year without a zero day. It does seem to inspire me, trouble is when there isn’t a focus on a project I get distracted. Not that I’m feeling guilty. The focus remains on the novel and I think I did need a break.
Let’s break down my new goals:
**No more Zero Days!
**Finish novel by year’s end and…
**Begin querying agents
**Blog more consistently
**Revisit, revise and release A CIRCLE OF TEMPORARIES

That last one is a bonus. I think it’s possible but I’m not sure exactly how much work that needs, seeing as I have yet to examine it as a whole. That’s slated for next month, after I do another pass of the novel before sending it off to be read by some people.
I am experimenting with scheduling things and so far so good. It’s just a little strange working on secondary projects. Especially since I feel so close with the big one and I have big plans for it. Hopefully I’ll be able to share some of that sooner rather than later.

A Faded Crosswalk

There seems to be more ghosts than demons, less like a hand gripping at every scrap of flesh and more like helpful, guiding hands. I’m not alone and I’m not together. Somehow it’s okay that I have outlived more than I wish to count. Even with the idea that an early grave was in someway bought and paid for.
Hope you kept the receipt.

I remember the car, I’m sure you do too and that actually goes for all of you. Strange to consider the importance of the thing most take for granted, more than anything else. It’s a weapon of mass destruction and a safe haven, a thrill and a fear. The wearer of many skins and roles. But do you remember the car we sat in? And all the things we said, all the plans and theories and discussions. It’s like seasons, years even, of my life are encased there. An entire year as one night. Ever ready to be replayed in fractured, minute blips. Memories like raindrops in a storm.

Back then we were invincible; living and breathing and fatally flawed. The easiest handholds are the ones that seem to crumble under our weight. I was a faded crosswalk. Painted lines well worn from feet and tires, and just about anything else that wanted to roll on through. You were a friend when I wasn’t sure I knew the meaning of the word. Here in the after, I’ve repainted the lines. They look a little different but I’m sure you’d recognize me. After all, you’re here. Isn’t that strange and beautiful and fucked and a whole dictionary of things? You’re gone and yet you’re here. I can shake the demons off but I can’t throw salt over my shoulder at the ghosts. My ghosts. I protect you, the way you seemingly protect me.

Every day there’s a memory to time travel through. We are time travelers. I am the paint, the pavement, the faded lines and the ones redone and touched up.
All of it, all at once.
All of you, all together.

Review – The Crossing episodes 7 through 11

I’ve said pretty much all there is to say about this show. Actually, no I’ve said more than should be said about it. Three episodes from the end was when there were actually stakes in place. So that’s eight hours of TV with no stakes— it just existed. You’d be better off watching a squirrel for any amount of time. There’s more excitement and urgency in that.
I have enjoyed the process of reviewing the show, even if I’m only talking to myself about it. It’s been a very good lesson about stakes and throughlines in stories. If there’s one thing my in progress novel is lacking is clear stakes which is a direct result of the problems I’ve had with the throughline of the story, something I’ve only just really hammered into place.
The Crossing is about 6-7 episodes too long. If they trimmed it down to a four part miniseries, I think it could have been great. Most of the storylines are resolved at the end here and there’s not a huge opening for more stories. But that could just be that they beat the care right out of me.
I have watched worse things and I really did enjoy Steve Zahn’s character. It’s upsetting that there wasn’t more on that level. I wish the show lived up to the really striking logo/title image. Just once would have been enough.

Updates to the site and books

I have made some decisions and some changes to my website. Notably is the fact that most of the free fiction is now gone. There hasn’t been a lot of action in quite some time. Which is not a bad thing nor is a great thing, it’s in the middle and so I figured why not try different things with it.
My two poetry books My Enveloping Reflection and Armorless and Afraid remain available on Amazon and now they are both exclusive there and enrolled within Kindle Unlimited. I’m experimenting with the price point as well. I have updated the ebooks and the descriptions and even have my author page more complete.
As of this writing, I have completed the third draft of the novel. It came in just over 60k words, which is shorter than the second draft and longer than the first draft. There are things I have planned to add in which I’m calling in my head “interludes” but now my current worry (having overcome the thing about the ending) is it won’t be “long enough”. I’m not gonna pad it to just pad it. We shall see how it goes. I’m taking about two to three weeks away from it then there’s some tweaks and additions to make before I send it off to a couple folks. If all goes according to plan, I should be querying agents at the end of the year.
As for A CIRCLE OF TEMPORARIES, it is also no longer available on this site. Originally, it was meant as an effort in having content on the blog for people to read if they saw short stories of mine in other publications but having decided to abandon the short stories and also my personal feelings about ACOT, I’ve decided to revisit it and actually edit it as a whole rather than six Pieces, as it were.
The goal is to be proud of it. To be glad my name is on it. Not to say I wasn’t before, it’s just the first Piece is really clunky and if I can barely read through it…
Not to mention, I paid for cover art so there’s no reason to not put it on Amazon. I might even include some extras in the back, sketches and things. The goal is also to have ACOT complete and released by year’s end.
If you’re interested, you can see the poetry books here and if you enjoy them please pass them on.
Thank you for reading.

If you’re so inclined, you can join my mailing list and receive A VAST EULOGY for free. It is a 6k word short story about a woman venturing into a strange world and who she meets there.

Review – The Crossing episode 6

I don’t hate this show but I am at the point where I cringe every time I sit down to watch it. It’s bad but I’ve watched 3 seasons of Agents of Shield… There are things I like, a lot. For example, Steve Zahn’s character is great and there’s some depth there. It’s just used incorrectly.
This episode like the previous one is mostly a flashback. Yeah I don’t know why they are doing it either. This time it’s about Zahn’s back story which is far more interesting than I expected. I wish everything fired on the level that the Sheriff does. He’s the only thing keeping me interested.
The premise is strong, it’s just not executed well at all. All these people come from the future to escape enslavement and they are okay with being enslaved here? It doesn’t make much sense. It would take a certain kind of person to go along with the time travel thing and so far I haven’t seen anyone in the group of refugees that comes close to being that kind of personality.
These past two episodes have been so focused on the past that it really illuminates the lack of a real engine for this show. I have no real sense of what these people are running from or what they thought would happen once they came to this time. Did they just jump in the portal or whatever because there was nothing else? Did they want to come here only to live out the rest of their lives?
The highlight of the episode and the whole show is the Sheriff. The shit he pulls at the end is greaaaaaaaaaaatttttttttt and surprising and if they fuck up this cliffhanger I’m going to be so pissed.
(Sidebar, The show has been canceled, as expected. The rest of the season will air, there’s only a few more to go. And I will continue this adventure of reviewing this show.)

Review- The Crossing episode 5

I thought the previous review was short…
The synopsis for this episode is:
“A TERRIFYING TRUTH ABOUT THE MIGRATION IS REVEALED” (I used caps because this is serious)
I watched the whole episode and I did not find the terrifying truth nor was anything “revealed”, they elaborated on things that we knew and didn’t need to see. The filler episode thinks it’s vital!
I don’t know what the point of this show is anymore.

On crafting a story

Over the past few months I’ve been thinking about how I have crafted stories, both the ones that are complete and the ones I’ve been working on. The novel I’m working on was a combination of two things. I began writing it in December of 2014 after the protagonist (name and all) popped into my head. The other thing was a few pages of a story beginning I had written in I think it was 2008. I don’t know what happened to those pages and it still kinda haunts me. The story itself was really just a scene or part of a scene I could never figure out what to do with it. I tried different things and nothing worked.
It is odd how things work themselves out eventually.
The other project I’ve been working on this year is a short story that I started last year, one that I have since abandoned which is partly the reason for this post. It was quite a journey with that short because when I wrote it initially I thought it was very comedic then I read it months later and was stunned to discover the opposite. It’s just weird. And I love the ending. I think a lot of that story has to do with current events and I tried to present something positive. I think on that front it succeeds, on a certain level. But ultimately I decided the story didn’t work because I found upon a few read-throughs that I did not care about the protagonist at all. Even after I tried to give to flesh him out more. I cared even less.
But there was an idea I had about the story that would involve tearing the whole thing apart and rebuild it from essentially nothing and I decided I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t believe in it. I still don’t. I found that what I liked was the ending. That was a lot of what the story always was for me. There are two images that I dreamed up that I loved and I haphazardly put a “story” around it.
That approach has worked for me before but after some thought I have decided I can’t do that anymore. I need to be more intentional. I don’t really want to be someone who creates only popcorn fun entertainment.
I’ve been listening to Brian McDonald’s INK SPOTS which is a collection of blog posts on writing, his other book INVISIBLE INK is probably my favorite book on the craft of writing that I’ve come across. There’s a part in INK SPOTS where he talks about a writing student who was having trouble with an ending for her short story and he asked her:
“What is a story?”
She thought it was a trick question but he wasn’t playing at anything. He just wanted her answer. He believes that every writer should have their own definition of what a story is or rather a definition that fits their writing.
It really helped me and I’ve thought about it a lot. I keep coming back to the word intentional. As I’m making my way through the third draft of my novel I’ve kept that word in my mind. There are things I want from the story and their are things the story wants. It’s fascinating how a certain idea has come out of it that I didn’t see until recently but it has been there since the first draft. I just couldn’t see it and that’s why the previous iterations have had disappointing endings because there was something there but not fully there. I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone but me…
One thing I have learned so far this year is about slowing down. I didn’t have a plan for the novel when I wrote the first draft of my novel and I’ve rebuilt it so many times, it’s been exhausting but also very informative. But going forward, I have other novels to write and I’ve actually been working on those ideas in the background over the past few months. I’m developing these ideas rather than just diving into things headfirst. I’m not sure what I’m going to write first but there are two novels vying for my attention once this one is complete-ish. One is the obvious sequel and the other is something new and exciting. I’ve been careful about crafting and preparing it. I’ve been building the characters and not thinking about the plot much. I have the broad strokes because the character stuff informs that. It all has to work together to form a unified thing. I should be saying I’m building a novel rather than writing one because it’s more like building than just writing.
I don’t want to craft stories based on one or two cool images. I can’t stop my brain from having those cool things pop in and out but those aren’t stories. An arrow isn’t an arrow without a point.