Sunday, September 28, 2008

Preparing for the 10th Anniversary of NaNoWriMo

So many things to blog about...and so little time to do so. I finally finished the latest version of my author's site I've got the CMS set up for a site where I plan to post all my setting information, but that won't go live until after NaNoWriMo

Speaking of nanowrimo, I'm very excited about participating this year. (I'm already starting to annoy my wife talking about it.) I'm also a little more worried this year. I'm planning on doing part 2 of the story I began last year, but I'm firmly stuck in the muddy middle of the story and I'm not sure which route I want to take to get me from the beginning to the ending. It's an ambitious story so pacing is already going to be an issue. Based on my work last year, I'm going to need somewhere between 50 to 75 scenes. So far I've got about 20 planned, then the rest just kind of fades into a blur. But, then, that's what's nanowrimo is about, isn't it? Just forcing you to gut out the word count and discover all kinds of things inside of you that you didn't know was there. That and just getting writers off their lazy butts.

Several weeks back I printed out all of my completed short stories (and the 1 novella) and ran them through a final (re)edit to get them ready to send out for their final rounds of submissions. I'm planning on running them through all the few remaining professional markets for short fiction, then I'll probably do something with them online. I like to do my final edits in hard copy (because I think I catch more stuff that way), so though I've finished nearly all of them, I still have to type in the changes.

Other than work, kids and the general distractions of life, I've done a little reading. One was a best-selling fantasy author who shall go nameless. I got about 5 or 6 chapters into it before realizing I had read it once before nearly 10 years ago. Even considering that it was a freshman work, the writing was appalling. The whole thing was all passive verbs, tons of over-writing and general cruft, not just one but two cliche openings because the first couldn't possibly motivate such a lame character.... It thoroughly depressed me, because if this guy could not only get published but go on to have a best-selling career, then something other than writing is the key factor in this business.

Speaking of reading old works, I borrowed a copy of Watchmen from a friend. Seeing the trailer for the movie, made me want to go back and re-read it. It was just as good as I remembered from all those years ago. I hope they can get the legal issues worked out, because I really want to see it, though it will be curious to see how they are able to adapt such a deep character-rich story for the big screen. All that being said, these photos of "Rorschach" picketing Fox studios for holding the movie up made me laugh.

I finally got around to reading The Road. I should say at the outset, that I'm a guy who likes post-apocalyptic stories. That is probably the only reason I finished this relentlessly oppressive book. I'm not saying it's bad. It's actually quite captivating despite some real flaws. The premise is completely unconvincing. (This from a guy who will happily suspend disbelief for any Romero-style zombie movie.) Plot-wise, I think it would have made an awesome short story. As a novel, it was a little thin. The characters are thin as well (both literally and literarily :) but their relationship and the father's obsessive will to survive do keep you engaged in the story. I almost didn't get into it because of an inexplicable lack of quotation marks and other punctuation and at least a few times where the author blatantly shifted from third to first person POV, but it is still a very worthwhile read. It is not divided up into chapters, but many of the scenes are short so I found myself gobbling one after the other like popcorn. I would highly recommend it to anyone and encourage those who fear they can't handle the bleak and unrelenting oppression by saying the book has a surprising and strangely optimistic conclusion that is really quite touching.