Saturday, May 18, 2013

I live... again!

Well, not really. I've just let this particular blog lie fallow for a while.
Stuff's been happening. You know: life.

But I'm trying to grapple with that and maybe, just maybe, I'll come out on top.

First order of business: I'm still collecting RPGs. My favorite is still White Wolf Game Studios' "Mage: The Awakening", and my heartbreak from the announcement that the line was being ended has almost healed. Perhaps some time soon I'll be able to look into their re-worked Mummy RPG, or even expand my GURPS library.

Secondly, I wrote a bit of fanfiction a while back. Twelve chapters, at least two or three of which I'm still not completely happy with, but I'll get back to them when my writer's muscles are better-developed, based on characters and situations created by another online writer. They're under a pen-name, but I'll pass along links to anyone who expresses any interest. And this leads to...

Thirdly, the fellow whose characters/situations I borrowed in the previous paragraph was sufficiently impressed that he asked me to help him with not one, not two, but three "trunk novels" (writer-talk for "big ol' projects that I haven't managed to finish yet"). As this was, for me, something like Jim Butcher (of "Dresden Files" and "Codex Alera" fame) offering me a beta-reader position for some new novels based in worlds other than the previous two series, I jumped at the chance and had an absolute blast coming up with themes and variations on the first draft of the most outlandish one, "A Million Tomorrows". Key elements include an artificially-intelligent house, virtual reality, murder mystery, and a talking dog. That was about four months ago. Not that we've made no progress, but I find that the world is fascinating and the story possibilities are very strong... but we're still stumped on execution.

To deal with that, I've naturally turned to the vast collection of books on writing advice I already have, and added a few extras. One is Chuck Wendig's "250 Things You Should Know About Writing"
His website is here: "Terrible Minds" and the specific book is here: 250 Things You Should Know About Writing

I recommend it for a number of reasons, not least of which is the price. It's hard to beat $0.99, right? Also, it's definitely written for writers who didn't get degrees in Literary Criticism, including "Take It For A Test Drive". Meaning: take the protagonist or other major character out to lunch (on paper, of course), or through a story or even a full-fledged adventure that may or may not have anything to do with the main story, but will give you some idea about how he/she/it/they/whatever thinks, feels, acts and so on.

He also offers a blog with writing challenges, which I fully intend to take up as part of my "writer's exercise regimen" to make writing a more regular part of my life.

The other one I'm working with is from Lisa Cron, and the web presence is here: Wired For Story
This includes a series of twelve "checkpoints" for any given story. I was going to use them as a "live" discussion of "A Million Tomorrows", but I think I'll keep it private for now. Legalities may apply, after all...

With the original writer's permission, I allowed another writer-friend of mine to give a critique, which seems to have drawn blood. Not "knife-to-the-guts" kind, but "knuckle-sandwich-to-the-cakehole" kind: it hurts, but I'm still of a mood to wipe my mouth, look the other writer in the face and say, "Thank you, sir, may I have another?" This is important, folks, because whether or not "A Million Tomorrows" is "mine", I took that editorial shellacking and I'm happy to come back for more. There was a time when I would have just slunk back into my hole and pulled it shut after me... but this story has gotten its hooks into my heart. And by all the gods, I will finish what I have started on it.

Who knows, maybe sometime soon, I'll have my own domain name with announcements about our book being published. Stay tuned...