Change is Coming

I’ve taken your advice and the census is to go ahead with the new idea. So over the next week things are going to be under construction. First, the blog will get a new look and a few format changes and the blog roll will be updated and changed. I’m consulting the right people and I’ll be putting a lot more effort into blog promotion as well. Of course I’d love to have my readership explode, but I’d also love to send more traffic to my fellow bloggers. It’s going to happen. Thanks for all of your advice and I hope you like what you see over the next week.

Published in: on August 4, 2010 at 8:34 am  Comments (1)  

Read All About It

It’s Friday and I just can’t seem to get my brain in the writing mode. I’m going to do something that you’ll all enjoy more than hearing what I’ve got to say. Here’s a list of a few of the blogs I like to keep up on. These are all awesome people with great blogs. I’ve been entertained and informed, and now it’s your turn.

The Other Drummer.

This guy marches to the beat of his own drum, and that’s a compliment.

Melissa Pilakowski

She’s sarcastic and intelligent. She’s got a sixth sense for interesting subjects, turning her every day into something worth reading about.

Category Thirteen

Joe Owen’s website. I’ve just barely met the guy and I’ve already learned a ton from him. He’s got some great projects underway as well.

Tender is the Blog.

This one is maintained by a great writer who I’ve also only recently met. I’ve been impressed by her work since day one. You’ll see it too.

I’m going to try and do this regularly. You’re probably thinking, why don’t you just put these in your blog roll? I’m working on it. I’ve got a long list of blogs I need to go through and choose from for my blog roll. It’ll happen soon enough.

Published in: on July 30, 2010 at 2:09 pm  Comments (4)  

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

I’m going to make an assumption. Everyone has at some point in their life read a book that they fell in love with. You may not call yourself a reader today, that is you may not regularly read for enjoyment…which begs the question, why are you here?.

I’m currently reading Haruki Murakami. This is my first time reading this author. The book is entitled Kafka on the Shore, and it’s fantastic. As I read the book I ask myself, what makes a good story? This question is not to be mistaken with, why do I like this story? You can ask yourself why you like a bad book. I know lots of people who do it…or at least they should be doing it (I’m talking to you Twilight fans). I’ve arrived at an answer. Of course it’s not official in any way, but it makes sense to me.

It seems to me that in every good story, every sentence matters, every sentence is significant. Some are more significant than others, but they matter. None are wasted. There’s no filler for the sake of filling, no fluff just for fun. Does that mean the content can’t be fun? No. It means that behind the fun, the action, the sorrow, behind it all is just a writer putting all of his words to work for a purpose. And when he catches you looking at him he’ll say, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”

Published in: on July 28, 2010 at 1:57 pm  Comments (2)  

I’m a Magical Tornado!

I witnessed the birth of video games. Imagine a game where you control a dolphin who carries the burden of saving other dolphins across the sea. But the dolphin looks only vaguely like a dolphin, and the sea is far too blue, and the crabs far too hostile. This dolphin only travels in a single plane – from left to right, up and down – within the confines of small television housed in a classy wooden frame.

I have a friend who secretly loved everything about this game…except for the magical blowfish. They were magical because they could pass through walls. And if you killed one you’d blink and there he’d be again. One of my many fond childhood memories is watching my friend mock that blowfish and shout through spittle at the screen, “I’m a magical blowfish!”

I’m writing a story that includes a tornado as a plot device…the darkest, meanest, and most malicious tornado you can fathom. He’s a mutant of tornadoes; taking on all destructive aspects of every tornado I can find in history. Can a tornado like this exist? It’s within the realms of science and possibility. So why then is it a magical tornado? Because like the magical blowfish, the tornado is ultimately an insignificant story element that arbitrarily blocks the protagonist without any plausible explanation for being able to do so.

How do you make a tornado like that insignificant? Good question.

Published in: on July 27, 2010 at 3:39 pm  Comments (1)  

A plot synopsis revisited.

I am preparing to send out another slew of query letters. Having spent some time away from all things concerning The Dreamers’ Atlas, I’ve come to the task with a fresh look at things. As a result, I have rewritten the plot synopsis. I think it’s quite a bit more powerful and intriguing. What do you think?

Let me speak to you from years of personal experience, spending sixteen years in a wheelchair will result in loneliness, bitterness, and thoughts of suicide – the only early escape from a terminal disease. Life as a teenager is cruel enough, but you’re going to feel like God himself is playing the joke. Worst of all, you’re going to fall in love with someone who only sees your wheelchair. For most, a life like this only exists in nightmares. For sixteen-year old Danny Birkwood, it’s reality.

Danny has all but given up on life when an intruder breaks in through his window in the middle of the night. Of course he’s helpless to do anything, that’s par for the course. What’s worse is that he doesn’t care. As it turns out, this burglar is no burglar at all. He’s just a boy, running from a life just like Danny’s, fraught with pain, sorrow, and loneliness. Flight, time travel, notoriety, what this stranger offers is impossible. But he’s come to the right place; here is an individual desperate enough to believe it all.

What follows is a heartwarming adventure, through the skies, across the barriers of time, and even into his dreams. What once consumed his every thought, the life threatening disease that will one day claim his life, is now the last thing on Danny’s mind. He’s lost, and his only hope of finding his way home is in the pages of a strange atlas. But there’s more to this guide than maps and information; The Dreamers’ Atlas has been banned for its teachings concerning a strange magic powered by emotion, a magic that threatens to challenge the dominion of a fascist ruler.

In the company of a bookworm, a slave boy, and a young woman from thirty years in the past, Danny must decipher the atlas and find a way home. But the more he learns the more powerful and valuable he becomes. Pirates seek to ransom him, soldiers are commanded to capture him, and nightmares come alive to take his life.

Danny is determined to find a way home. Yet in this journey, he’ll discover more than he anticipates: friendship, love, sacrifice, loyalty, and a capacity to hope and dream in the face of impossible odds.

Published in: on February 16, 2010 at 11:17 am  Leave a Comment  

Reader’s Choice

It’s been a little while since I’ve made a post here. I’ve set a goal for myself this week: to blog every day. I do my best to come up with topics that everyone will enjoy, it’s pretty tough sometimes. So I’m going to start a weekly trend on this blog, I’ll call it:

Reader’s Choice

It’s pretty self explanatory. On Monday I’ll lay out some guidelines. For example, I might ask that you – the reader – ask me a question and I’ll dedicate a post to it that week. Or, I might ask for a volunteer to guest write on one day.

For our fist Reader’s Choice, I’m not going to lay any ground rules. Just throw out a request and i’ll choose one that tickles my fancy. If I don’t get any participation…well, that won’t happen, right?

Published in: on February 15, 2010 at 5:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

What scares you?

I have a reoccurring nightmare from when I was kid: that I am trapped in my house while a pack of evil, man eating dogs wait outside.

I suppose this is why I’ve read every one of Stephen King’s books except for Pet Cemetery. Buried animals that come back to life, rabid and blood thirsty, is not my idea of entertainment. On the other hand, many of my story ideas originate from a situation of fear. Waking up to find that the world is empty, being trapped in your basement as the tornado of all tornadoes comes to take you, laying in bed, helpless as a stranger breaks in through your window.

I don’t like to form an entire story around these singular situations. That is, I don’t want to write thrillers or horror novels. I like the story to focus on the why, the explanation behind fantastical events and how the characters deal with it. I don’t want to study how the monster is going to kill me, I wan to know why he is there and why he wants me dead.

I think fear, when used in a particular way, can be a very compelling way to keep the reader reading. After all, doesn’t everybody ask, why? Most people don’t like to focus on the violence, or the tragedy. They’ll look at it, they always do (you know, train wrecks and that sort of thing), but only for a minute. Then they always ask, why?

What scares you?

Published in: on February 9, 2010 at 4:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

You can thank me later.

Terry Pratchett was just diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. If this news doesn’t mean anything to you, I’m going to assume you’ve never read one of his books. If that is the case, you are missing out.

I remember when I first caught wind of Harry Potter. One of the common praisers given to Rowling’s masterpiece concerned her off-the-wall imagination and sense of humor. If you’re one of those readers who couldn’t get enough of silly wizard terminology, hilarious creatures, and brilliant set pieces, then you owe it to yourself to read Terry Pratchett.

I’m going to do you a favor. Here are a few quick plot synopsis from several of Terry’s books. You’ve got over 30 book to choose from. You can thank me later.

Mort

Death comes to Mort with an offer he can’t refuse — especially since being, well, dead isn’t compulsory.As Death’s apprentice, he’ll have free board and lodging, use of the company horse, and he won’t need time off for family funerals. The position is everything Mort thought he’d ever wanted, until he discovers that this perfect job can be a killer on his love life.

Soul Music

Death’s granddaughter picks up the scythe when the Grim Reaper takes a vacation. Trolls, dwarves, magicians and rock music music played with rocks figure in this amusing but overlong romp, which begins with the formation of a band by aspiring musician Imp y Celen (aka Buddy).

Reaper Man

They say there are only two things you can count on …

But that was before DEATH started pondering the existential. Of course, the last thing anyone needs is a squeamish Grim Reaper and soon his Discworld bosses have sent him off with best wishes and a well-earned gold watch. Now DEATH is having the time of his life, finding greener pastures where he can put his scythe to a whole new use.

But like every cutback in an important public service, DEATH’s demise soon leads to chaos and unrest — literally, for those whose time was supposed to be up.

Published in: on February 4, 2010 at 11:47 am  Leave a Comment  

A lunch of champions.

I have a problem. I need an intervention. For the last several months I have been eating very poorly. This is my lunch, the same lunch I’ve been consuming for about a week now. In fact, I’m eating and drinking it at this very moment.

It’s not that I don’t know what constitutes a proper meal. I’ve gone through the Body For Life and P90-X programs, twice each. I think it’s got something to do with the winter. I just can’t get motivated to eat properly and exercise.

But I love wintertime! I am a cold-blooded person. I can smell fall in the air in late August, and it gets me really excited. This year’s winter has been particularly brutal, and I’ve enjoyed it for the most part. Maybe my chosen diet is part of the reason why.

How about you, what are you having for lunch that you know you shouldn’t be?

Published in: on February 3, 2010 at 11:14 am  Leave a Comment  

Inkygirl.com

I can totally relate to Death in this comic. I’ve received my fair share of “no thank you” letters from publishers and agents, and darn it, sometimes it just pisses you off! Check out more at inkygirl.com

Published in: on January 25, 2010 at 10:37 am  Leave a Comment