Thursday, February 26, 2009

Finish Line

The Transcendental Man is complete! Yes, another 2k+ words tonight and I finished that damn thing. Of course, much of that is hastily written and needs some serious smoothing, but the broad strokes are in there. I can refine it later this weekend. Next up I really want to try a flash piece or two. Something short.

Oh, well. I am zonked. Off to bed.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Time Is The Fire In Which I Laze

I don't know what it is, but I just can't seem to get jump started on The Transcendental Man. The first time I wrote the story, it flowed out of me in a single sitting. This time around, it looks to be even shorter, but damn if I can't get it completed. Each day for the last week all I've managed is two to three hundred words a day. Tonight I finally sat down and stayed put until I had written a thousand. One thousand is my "goal" for each day, but of course I don't always reach it. It baffles me why this story is taking so long. I've already written it once. You'd think the second time would be even easier, especially since I am not making any big, overt changes to it. Oh well. I guess it's only appropriate that a story about time travel should take so long to actually finish. If I keep to my daily goal, it should be done by Friday night.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Lost Weekend

I went into this past weekend with the intention of writing as much as possible. Somehow, it didn't work out the way I wanted it. Sure, The Transcendental Man grew by a few hundred words and I jotted down notes on a story idea for the 2012 anthology should it open up to submissions again, but I ended up reading and watching TV more than I had originally envisioned. That, and I put a lot of time into replacing programs and files that were lost in the recent crash. I still have a way to go before my system is back to the way I had it, but every little bit helps.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Getting Started

On the heels of yesterday's talk of inspiration and writing exercises, comes another thought: getting started.

I don't know how many times I have sat at the computer, looking at the word processor and not lifting a finger to type. I've set aside this time specifically to write and have been itching to do so all day, yet now that my butt is parked in front of the keyboard, I can't seem to get started. I think about the story in question, where it has been, where it is going, things I'd like to see appear and lots of other facets, but I cannot seem to actually start typing. I'll surf the net, checking out various sites. I'll post comments at blogs or forums. I'll read reviews for books, films and games. I'll research various things that popped into my head over the course of the day. In short, I will do anything and everything except write. It's not that I have writer's block, but more a case of not being able to get started. I know what I want to write. I just can't get going!

I've found that 9 times out of 10, once I do get started, the words start flowing like a herd of diarrhetic camels (OK, maybe that was a bad analogy) and I must often force myself to stop before my writing gets too crappy. For some reason, that first word is the hardest to get out.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Though I managed to get another 1000 words on The Transcendental Man tonight, I spent some time engaged in one of my self styled writing exercises. What I like to do is come up with a list of topics and/or scenes, pick one at least once a week and then write 1000 words on it. I had a list filled with dozens of ideas, but anyone who has been reading this blog over the last month knows what happened to that.

Some of the items on the list were generalized, like "urban vampire attacks couple on way home." Thus, I pounded out 1000 words describing a couple walking home from some event and being stalked by a vampire. Other items were more vague, like "weed moves position from day to day" or "poison eating contest" (which ended up becoming Nuts, one of the two stories I sold to 52 Stitches). Still other ideas on that list were very specific, such as "man and woman argue over relationship, he wants to move faster, she wants to move slower." The purpose of those were so I could practice writing a variety of different scenes, not all of them horror, scifi or fantasy related. Most of the time what I wrote was crap, but I figured the practice would pay off in the long run.

I really need to brainstorm and compile another list. I found that not only was the writing fun, but often times a cool story idea resulted. Tonight's exercise was "empty bathroom/shadow beyond shower curtain" which plays upon the irrational fear I have that there is someone standing right outside the shower whenever I am in there.

Anyone else have things they do to help flex and tone those writing muscles?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Off It Goes...Finally

After three weeks of solid work, Deadliest Cachalot was sent off to Dead Bait tonight. Now I wait and hope...and get to work on something new. I think I may try my hand at a shorter piece before tackling version 2 of The Transcendental Man. Since Cachalot was 8k words long, a flash story sounds rather tempting right now. That will have to wait til tomorrow, which I thankfully have off from work. Whatever happens with Cachalot, at least I feel like I accomplished something by rewriting it from scratch and not letting that computer crash get the best of me. Time right now for snacks and a late night movie. I'm thinking something with Godzilla.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Because we're going to be together all day today and it was the only time I had to set things up, last night I created a Valentine's Day treasure hunt throughout our house for The Other Half. When she got home she was greeted with an envelope at the door containing her first clue. This led to a location in the house with a small prize and another clue. Eventually she made her way upstairs and collected chocolates, flowers, teddy bears and a romantic chick flick on DVD that she wanted. It seemed to go over pretty well with her. The fact that it as actually Friday the 13th was even better, since we're big horror geeks and consider 13 our lucky number.

On the writing front, I've been revising Deadliest Cachalot all week and am about 95% satisfied with it. I actually changed the ending somewhat because I felt it diverted attention away from the main character right at the climax of the story. I hope to get this one sent off before the weekend is out.

Today we're going out to eat at the Outback Steakhouse. It's sort of a combination Valentine's Day/Birthday feast since the 18th is the day I turn 40. Ugh. After weeks of working on Deadliest Cachalot with it's mutant crabs, I have a serious craving for crab legs, so will be indulging big time later today with my porterhouse.

Everyone have a good one!

Monday, February 9, 2009

An Early Book Memory

It's a new meme started by K.C. Shaw! Early book memories!

Let's see... I remember in the 4th grade (1979) my school had this program they called USSR, which of course stood for Uninterrupted Sustained Silent Reading. The teacher set aside some time each day for the class to read. Usually it was about 20 minutes, but to a kid it seemed like a looooong time. We each chose a book either from the school library or from the classroom bookcase and read to ourselves. I remember this one book from the library that was called Alfred Hitchcock's Monster Museum and which was filled with short horror stories. Other kids had read it and were expounding upon its virtues. Eventually my turn came to check it out and I devoured those stories rather quickly. Several more times during that school year I checked that book out from the library and re-read those stories. Alas, the following year I attended a new school that was built closer to home, and it did not have that book in its library. Years and years and years (okay, more like decades) went by, but I never forgot that book and the stories in it. Then one day, while perusing a second hand book store, what should I find? Yes, THAT book. I was overjoyed. I bought it, brought it home and read it all over again, reliving my distant youth. For a short time, I was ten years old again, reading those stories for the first time.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Finally finished Deadliest Cachalot for the second time. It ended up being quite a bit longer than the first version. Naturally, I have gone over the Dead Bait word limit by a couple hundred words, but I'm sure I can trim those and more so that the story is more concise. That will have to wait for a day or two. After a solid two weeks of having this story on the brain, I'm gonna let it sit before revising. Time to work on something else. Either version two of The Transcendental Man or something new. We'll see tomorrow.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday Night Writes

Friday at last. Long hours at work and reoccurring sciatic problems have conspired over the last three days to rob me of time. I've barely managed to get out a couple hundred words each night on Deadliest Cachalot. Tonight and this weekend, that sucker gets finished, by Crom.

Since the story does feature more than one Sperm whale and since I don't have the time or inclination to read the book right now, I added the 1956 film version of Moby Dick to my Netflix queue and have been watching it in snippets over the last few nights. Of course, the heavy duty muscle relaxer that The Other Half gave me on Tuesday night made me pass out by 7:30, so I saw and wrote nothing that night.

I couldn't resist adding a few slight (OK, maybe halfway obscure) similarities to Moby Dick in Deadliest Cachalot. In Melville's book, when Ishmael goes to sign on board a whaling ship, there are three choices: The Pequod, Devil-Dam and Titbit. In my story, I named the three boats The Pinniped, Dippity Dog and Timbuk. The boat transporting my characters is captained by a man named Abrams rather than Ahab. Oh, don't look at me like that, I thought it was cute. :)

Time to check out some sites and blogs and then get to writin'!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Getting Crabby

Worked steadily on Deadliest Cachalot for Dead Bait all weekend. While not finished, I am in the home stretch. Things have gone from bad to worse to craptastic for my poor characters. Killer Sperm Whales and mutant crustaceans abound. I hope to finish it tomorrow night.

I also discovered The Haunt, a Myspace/Facebook-like social networking site created by Horror Mall and aimed for horror fans and writers. I gave up on Myspace ages ago and despite the pleading from The Other Half, never bothered with Facebook, but I may have to give this one a shot.