Friday, December 18, 2009


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I sometimes think the best writing comes from fear, not of the story and the elements within it, but from a fear of the simple act of writing. We all, from time to time, get into funks where we feel that the things we usually do well are suddenly difficult and painful. When these moments come, it is very easy (especially for writers, I think) to shirk responsibility and move from the word processor to the comfortable, perfectly molded, ass-shaped indentation in the couch. It is an awful feeling to sit at a computer while working on a final draft and think that every word, every sentence, the whole damn story, in fact, sucks.

But, in those moments of doubt, we'd do well to remember that the story doesn't suck (well, in some cases it actually does suck, which makes the value of this argument rather questionable). I like to compare it to the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, though the analogy applies to sports or hobbies across the board. It takes many, many years to become good at BJJ, and a student will go weeks, sometimes months, at a time feeling solid about his or her progress. Then, all of a sudden, simple techniques become impossible to pull off, timing goes out the window, and that same student is getting his or her ass stomped by people who haven't been training nearly as long. It's easy, then, to become demoralized, and even easier to choose not to attend class when that funk settles in. The process of fighting through it, of continuing to fight even though nothing seems to work, is what makes us better.

And after we've fought through the funk, we often look back and realize we were never as bad as we had thought.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Random Updates

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There's a lot going on these days, so I'll try to keep this update brief but fat. The final draft of CROWLEY'S NIGHTMARE (still only a tentative title) is sitting at 24,974 words. The word count versus page count varies from book to book depending on formatting issues like typeface, spacing, margins, chapter breaks, etc. For the sake of argument, I'll go with the standard of 250 - 300 words per page, which puts this work in progress somewhere around page 83. Quite a bit of slogging to go, but still on track to finish by the end of December. The "sequel" (in quotes because there are all new characters; the only element that rolls over to the "sequel" is the gargoyle statue) sits at 11,916 words, or about 40 pages using the standard described above. This one feels special; ideas are flowing faster than I can scribble them down, and the manuscript has that magical "writing itself" quality that humbles me. It's cliche, I know, but it's like some great, omnipresent storyteller is pouring the information out and I'm just standing under it with a huge cup.

I don't normally like to talk about works in progress since motivations/subjects/stories/people change, and too many times I've verbally locked myself into projects that never got completed. My intention for this blog, though, is to document my path to "infamy and misfortune," so I think it's best to be completely (well, mostly) transparent. So, if I write about something here that never comes to fruition, then I suppose it's all part of the journey.

How's that for brief?!

And just for fun, here is some of what I've been reading/watching/hearing lately. I don't really do reviews, so if you see it here, just consider it a recommendation.