Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Season's Ending, a poem

The season’s done, the presents out.
Was that what this was all about?
The paper trashed, the bellies full,
The children safely wrapped in wool.
The food was great, The sweets as well,
Time spent with family, really swell.
But as the new year draws so near,
Please think of others, be a dear.
To those that lost, to those in need,
To those who hunger that we can feed.
To acquaintances here and strangers far,
It’s time we collectively raised the bar.
Each of us has tribulation.
Somewhere, someone needs motivation.
If you can spend from selfless self,
And be a loving, helpful elf,
Then more’s the good if all would give.
Inspire another soul to live.
Then you will see, when next we meet,
A brand new world, a Christmas feat!
Then time with family, emotion blending,
Now that’s a perfect Season Ending!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Gapple Glom Wendig

On this the most twentieth of twelve. I present:

The Gapple Glom Wendig
J. Foshee

Oh vample gob them drambling drove
from donster hill to hingle throw
went frilly thrill the rabid mole
didst gambol on then dribble Poe

From firebrand hove the wanton sight
the ample rove gave forth the night
when once the dewdrop in its flight
came 'round to live within

whence fervent prayer and power might
bring forth an ever eerie light
Mabe clicks and finds an errant blight
'pon xster's porch the snow

and lay about an awful fight
Those trollops float about the right
and send the fires so swift alight
that once men so called friend.

I've had enough, I'll not bespite
that gibber gallop roam and smite
the flaunted spoils of modern gripe
dug deep within the floe.

And Wendig hath the power of light
to cast a path as on we gripe
that e'er a scribbler ought to write
and write and write again.

FGA (Frequently Given Answers)
(-) No, there isn't any punctuation.
(-) No, I don't want it to have any punctuation
(-) Yes, insomnia does create some interesting things.
(-) No, I don't have any of those particular toys. Who are you?
(-) Yes, it is supposed to get progressively more clear as you read it.
(-) No, I don't know if it is actually poetry.
(-) No, I don't want to know what it really is.
(-) Yes, I do like 'The Wendig' quite a lot.
(-) Yes, his beard has a lot to do with that.
(-) No, I won't give you his phone number.
(-) Yes, I do think the beard is one of the sources of his power.
(-) Yes, this WAS a hat-tip to the Jabberwocky. Glad you noticed.
(-) No, I don't think Chuck Wendig was the actual Jabberwocky.

Anyway, this was something that fell out of my brain at 1AM. I looked at it and then smashed it onto a page. If you like it, great!


Monday, November 26, 2012

I came, I saw, I conquered... Aaaand now I'm depressed.

Writing is a Thing I Love(TM), but sometimes it doesn't eclipse all of the depressing things I have to deal with each day.


Even my success in this year's NaNoWriMo wasn't sufficient to overcome all of the downers gnawing at me over Thanksgiving. The combination of leftovers, NaNo success and coffee did give me some pleasure, but I need another project to buoy me from this completion until I can begin editing the ugly first draft of my cyberpunk novel.

Such is my life, and mine alone. I know some of my friends suffer minor and major versions of the same, but it always tends to accelerate for me as the year winds down.

*Head spins and evil laughter echoes from somewhere around*

Since you are still here, I will tell you a secret. It is the early exuberance for the season that affects me the most. Stores weren't satisfied enough with Black Friday. They dug into my Thursday as well. Radio stations began blaring carols and other assorted reprehensible audible attacks on music before the turkey had even been procured. Knowing this, I know that I will arrive at critical mass even earlier this year.

*Shakes violently*

This is not a cheerful thought. I was concerned for the safety of those surrounding me last year. They now have no hope of escaping the piece of my mind that will be forcefully ejected from my cake hole should they try their false cheerfulness on me this season.

Be warned advanced merry makers. I already have plans to eviscerate you in the written word. I shall add characters to this miserable tale as you proceed in your destruction of The Season Formerly Known As My Favorite. I will feast upon the tears of false savings and poorly executed christmas music.

*shakes head to clear the fog* Wha? What happened? I blacked out there for a moment.

Did I tell you, I won NaNoWriMo?

Oh, OK. I'll talk to you later, I guess.

*Wanders off*


Friday, November 9, 2012

Forgive me Fellow Writers, for I have sinned...

It has been... months since I last kept track of my daily word count.

I know it sounds simple. Some might not understand. It was once important to me to keep track of how many words I produced each day. The task, I felt, focused too much on manufacturing. "KEEP WRITING, YOU NEED TO SHOW IMPROVEMENT FROM YESTERDAY!", my ego shouted. For many days, weeks and months I listened. I only stopped when I came to the realization that it was being kept track of for the wrong reasons. I wasn't writing because I wanted to write something, I was writing because I had a number to surpass. So I stopped.

I left off worrying about how many words I was writing daily. I started back in my daily idea generation. I started writing short, flashy fiction(not slashy). I started fleshing out my older story ideas that had grown on me over the years. I forced myself to realize that I need to stop talking about it and start editing my old first drafts. I made myself start reading up on editing. I planned three book stories. Lastly, I have been writing one of them for NaNoWriMo... and that was when I remembered word counting.

I know. I have fallen back on some old ways. I've improved them. I have rediscovered where they fit in my writing life. I also remember that word counts are not, and should not be, a replacement for doing good work no matter how many words you produce. Sometimes less is more, and I have to keep that in mind.

I WILL start back keeping track of my count, but I will only do so for posterity. I think that is one of a few things I can take away from my NaNoWriMo experience. I'll expand on the others in a separate post.

I will now go and say five Wendig's Beards and five Our Muses in penance.

Keep Writing!


*the above catholic references are in no way meant as sacrilege. I make-a da funny. If you no like-a da funny, say so in the comments.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Trouble With Cake

In a conversation with a friend, I discovered a great way to explain and/or infuriate different religions. Please note: I do not post this here with the intention of infuriating anyone. I simply want to convey my understanding of these religions as I see them. Some of you will recognize certain aspects of these. Others will be completely lost. Ask me questions. :-)

So let's play with some words:

In a completely random naming, let us say we have two main groups. On the one side are 'Cristies' and on the other are 'Musies'. Completely made up names here. Now, let's have them chat a bit.

Cristies: "Our cake is delicious and based on Love, but you can only have some if you close your eyes and strain really hard to taste it. Taste it yet?"

Musies: "Oh yeah? Well, our cake has all natural ingredients, is based on love AND can only be eaten by a certain pre-determined group. Others can eat it too, but they will never be fully part of that main group."

Cristies: "I think your cake is fake. I've never seen it and, having never seen or heard of it, I think it smells funny. Also, our cake is made in Jerusalem, so you better not be there when we get there."

Musies: "I'm IN Jerusalem and I don't see your cake anywhere. MY cake smells wonderful and fills a person without harming their health. I think your cake doesn't exist."

Cristies: "You are lucky our cake is based on love, otherwise we'd have to wipe you from the face of the planet. As it stands now, we plan to kill a great many of you until you accept our cake as the only one. By the way, our cake is real. We said so."

Musies: "I don't think so. None of our friends has even heard of your cake. You want to send an army? Go ahead. Our cake is based on love, but we will effing kill you and anybody that looks like you."

Cristies: "You've never heard of our cake and its PR guy Joe? You know of none of the 12 Bakeries of Deliciousness? Have YOU ever seen your cake?"

Musies: "Of course we... errr, we believe in our cake. Ours has its own PR guy Moe. We have 12 Bakeries of Divine Taste. Have you ever seen YOUR cake?"

Cristies: "Umm, are you sure you aren't trying to steal our cake?"

Musies: "I hate you."

Cristies: "I hate you more"


Aggies: "I don't think we will ever be able to prove the existence of either of your cakes."

Christies: "Who the eff are you?"

Rushdies: "Our friend wrote a book about your cake, but he made it funny."

Musies: "There is NO CAKE BUT OUR CAKE, and its PR guy Moe! Joe is just some guy who likes cake."

Cristies: "There is something seriously wrong with you guys."

Atheis: "I don't even believe you have cake. Prove it to me."

Scienties: "Your cake never happened. Please buy these devices to make yourself look better to aliens."

Bhuddies: "Love all cake. Give cake to those you don't even know."

Hindies: "Siva's cake is best. Please stop eating cows."

Zenies: "We are all cake. Meditate upon this."

Westboories: "If you are gay, our cake is not for you."

Zoroastries: "No one even knows about our cake."

GLaDOS: "I have some cake, but you are going to have to work for it."

Pieies: "Eff cake, eat pie."

Full Disclosure: I am ambivalent about religion as a whole. Were I to pick one that most closely resembles my feelings it would be a mix of several. I tend to have more Pie-ous feelings than most others. :-)


P.S. Please let me know if any of this offends. I am curious as to what in it is found offensive.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Crossroads

Two weeks ago I attended an event that not only found me at a crossroads in my life, it was also named Crossroads.  There were no answers to the questions I was asking myself at the time, and my reasons for going had nothing to do with decisions I faced. My reasoning was far more tacky. It was close, and I am poor.

I always wanted to attend any number of writing events from Writer's Digest West/East to just about any York writing group. It just so happened that I saw an ad for Crossroads Macon in my e-mail one day, and it met all of my restrictions; Cheap, close, and it gave me the added benefit of a weekend away to focus solely on all this writing stuff that has so pervaded my life.

To say I had low expectations would be accurate, but harsh. I had no frame of reference. I was coming into this conference with no idea of the experiences it would provide, nor of the people I would meet and talk smack with/to later. Let me frame all of the foregoing with the sentiment I heard repeatedly on Sunday after the main event, "The bar has been set very high for any other conference."

As I sit here in my favorite office space (The Public Library)contemplating Crossroads, I find it has done so much more for me, as a person who writes, than I ever expected. There are so many bright moments in my memory: The Orange Liquid from Hell, Awkward Man Hugs(#HugGate), Famous bearded personages, Literary temptresses, The milking of the creamer(no link for it. It shall remain infamous in perpetuity).

I don't tell you of all of these inside memories to make you jealous... well, maybe a little, but what I want you to take from this is a driving desire not to miss next year. Forge some friendships with others. Drink questionable drinks with writers. Share hashtags on twitter. Whatever you desire can be achieved if you only attend.

Lastly, I promise you, Chris will hug you if you are there.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The First Rule of Write Club...

... is that you MUST talk about Write Club. The second rule of Write Club is Rinse, Repeat. Wait. What? No, it is the same as the first. Everyone knows that. The problems begin at Rule 3: When entering Edit Club, you must focus only on your opponent.

While you are still technically in Write Club, you have entered the arena and must now fight. Fighters don't talk, they fight. While fighting they don't do blog posts, tweets or LOL around on Facebook. They focus on the work ahead and they fight as if their lives depended on it. The mechanics of an actual fight are much the same as in editing(Unless you are street fighting AND THIS ISN'T ABOUT THAT!). In Edit Club there can be any number of rounds. The biggest difference here is in way the time frame is handled, and the fact that rounds, in this conversation, is not referring to drinks. Sad, I know.

The break between Edit Club rounds can take as long as needed for you to recover from each gruelling battle(and some will be gruelling). You will be victorious only if you allow yourself that time to recover. You can even fight completely different battles with new opponents before finishing that first fight. Edit Club won't judge you as long as you continue fighting.

My next opponents
Before you ask, Yes, those are my glasses. I look really great in them, OK? Those are also 2 first drafts I have been avoiding for months because I knew I needed to tear them limb from limb. I was trying to be the bigger person, but they've been talking trash. What was I saying? Oh, right, I think of these battles the same way Basic Training was described by my Drill Sergeants, "They MUST be broken before they can be made stronger". And I will break them. I must, I have a deadline for it. Hang on, they're going to get stronger, AND I have to fight them again?! *Sigh* Well, I guess it's what I signed on for.

So, if you don't see me online, and if you don't get a response to your e-mail/tweet/Facebook post in what you consider a timely fashion, just cheer for me in my fight. Fear not. I shall overcome. I will not be defeated. The only defeat is to give up this life, and we know that ain't happenin', baby.

CHUCK WENDIG!!!! Wow, I just had a Rocky moment.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Lines, Deadlines and Self-loathing

I know I need to set date/time group restrictions to complete my backlog of work. I just don't want to!

 *temper tantrum* Deep breath *

I understood this before I even began writing for pleasure. That was a long time ago. I was eleven. I am thirty-five now. I must have held on to some hope that it would be forgotten or fall out of style. Well, it didn't.

I have always known that this is a self-help issue, but I still resisted with all of my might, much like a horse might while being dragged from a burning barn. Well, no more, I must do this FOR GREAT JUSTICE! If I don't, I won't get anything done.

I have much to do

Those are the books I have in various states of planning. There are twenty items in there One of those is the place where I put completed first drafts. Now I just need to make myself do that first major edit. I've given myself until the end of October to do a major revision of one of the four drafts in that directory. Te act of editing is going to be a massive learning experience for me since it represents the first time I've had to edit something this size after writing it. It will also represent my first time doing this level of work toward selling anything. Yes, I said it, I will be looking for an agent. My goal is to have a manuscript together by the end of the year that I am willing to let professionals see. Please note, I didn't refer to it as finished or completed. One of the things reinforced for me over the weekend was the fact that nothing is ever really complete. We must take the leap and let our pet projects and beloved stories go. The hope is that they will get the help they need to be truly great. It is this last point that allows me to consider dressing something up for those willing to help further improve my work. I have a deadline to be actively seeking representation by the end of the year. That is not to say I will locate one in that time, but I think that type of deadline will work for now.

The more strident restrictions come from those editing and writing deadlines I mentioned previously.  There are many bad habits to break. I hope these self-imposed restrictions prove to be a good start.

I have to go now. I hear my new deadlines calling me.


P.S. Read This. http://www.stevenpressfield.com/2012/10/no-more-mister-nice-guy/ READ IT!! It is by the author of The Legend of Bagger Vance

Monday, October 8, 2012

HugGate, I was THERE!

I am the great and huggyful Oz...
What a great weekend! I met a plethora of excellent people who were being excellent and many an aspiring, inspiring or aspirating author who spoke at length in sessions, meals or drink events about everything from rusty automotive issues to the nipples on a steampunk vampire. Dispersed through the event were random chats with students, story ideas with event planners, drinks with screenwriters and drunken storytelling with movie producers.

Before you ask, no, I was not in Hollywood. This was Macon Georgia, and I will take it over Hollywood any day of the week after an event like this. I don't mean 'taken' in any Liam Neeson movie sense, more like taken as in 'I do'. You have stolen my heart Crossroads Writer's Conference. The fact that you replaced it with a steam-powered, sparkly vampire duck spouting "500 ways to solve for X in writing" makes it all the more life-changing.

                                 I was serious when I said I loved you.
Don't fear the mutual appreciation

I learned things about me that others knew who had never met me. I got insight into the lives of published authors that I had heard before but didn't believe. I ate a chocolate cake filled with chunks that was shaped and sized like a muffin. I drank and joked and dared some of the most well known people in writing on this side of the US and they laughed at themselves as well as others along with me.
Steamduck learns to fly
I watched as a steam powered duck learned to fly. You can find out what I already know on Wednesday, but you should know, I was riveted.

 I took terrible photos and told even worse jokes and they returned the compliment with photos and jokes of their own.

the doing of the art on the art

what was done to the art by the artist

I saw an artist conduct some art on art editing and was guilty of conspiring with another to further edit the aforementioned art. (say that five times fast... SAY IT!)

I was flattered to be told that I was 'really charming' by a lovely author before she left. Did I mention that I was flattered? :-) This event was the cherry on top of a giant cake of a year. The rest of the year has some very large patent-leather boots of a period nature to fill.

Crossroads Writer's Conference, I love you like a fat kid loves cake. Which works out well, since I am the fat kid in question. Now I have to get back to my diet of loneliness and deadlines, but more on that in the next post. :-)

Fat Kid out!


P.S. I sent this out without review or edit. Consider it my last act of defiance before I enter the Writer's Reform School. ;-)

le sigh

Blogger apparently hates me, since it just obliterated an awesome blog post. Second try coming soon.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Labor Day Week writing exercise.

So, I made plans at the end of last week to do a series of cyberpunk exercises at the end of this week. I did research all day today while the movie Hackers ran in the background. (yes, I know it is a horrible portrayal of technology and 'hacking', but I like the music and some of the plot lines really make me think in unique directions.) I surprised myself by finishing my research early, so I spent a little time creating a few prompts to help me should I find myself stuck or slowed when I write on Thursday. I had originally planned to think out and create the prompts tomorrow, but I came up with  another prompt that I will write tomorrow. That one centers around character development for both days of writing. I picked up some more tools to aid in the development of characters from thescriptlab (link below). I find that, on a number of issues where I have been stuck over the last several years, screenplay ideas give scenes I am writing a bit more color. I also heavily modify other writing prompts and exercises I find to fit my style and process. I'm not closed-minded on how I do things, but I have become comfortable in the manner in which I prepare. That said, this series of exercises is yet another takeaway from my comfort zone. The last several months have seen me diverge from my 'normal' routine in order to break my creativity out of the slump I found myself in earlier in the year. I add what works to my usual routine where it makes sense. (I use that style of prep when I write my daily journals or my writing prompt development. I'll post some of these as I have time to write them out in a clear manner)

My cyberpunk exercises are borne out of a love of stories told by Richard K. Morgan and William Gibson (I had actually forgotten I had read Neuromancer until I read a little of the story. For some reason the title didn't jog a memory.)  I'll write one story on Wednesday afternoon once I complete my character development. This first will be in screenplay form so that I can take advantage of scene descriptions and get those out of my system before writing my prompt on Thursday. Friday will kick off a prompt that should take a longer form and go through the weekend. With any luck I will have the first draft of a novella or the seeds of a book by Monday. :-) It is ambitious, optimistic and reckless all at the same time and it has me really excited. I have been working on this idea for months and I finally got to a point where I was tired of working on my other items. Perfect timing for a 'break' of sorts from my normal and long running work. I have some stuff lined up for next week on a project that I have been researching for several years (It has only taken years because it took me that long to sit down and try to grasp some of the concepts I plan to use.) My last attempt was utter crap in my opinion, but that didn't keep me from saving the bits for use later. This next attempt will use none of the original story as it fell apart due to my lack of understanding. Hand-waving aside, I think I have enough of a grasp to write from a very different perspective in the story than the first try. Time will tell on that one.

Back to the writing for this week, since I don't have a writing partner and there is no one to keep me honest on word counts, etc., I will post my word counts per day in the comments here so that I am monitoring myself in a more public arena. Let's hope that keeps me motivated and not focusing in the wrong directions for too long at a time. One of the main things I hope to take away from this is whether or not I like writing this type of fiction. I have yet to 'find my place' in writing genres and I have a ton of work in various different ones as trial runs, plus a few cross genre shorts to round out the pile, but I have yet to really locate one area that defines me as a writer. It is very likely that I never will, but I do want to see where I am comfortable the most. That should dictate where my future work starts.

Here's to hoping that the week is a success and I follow through on the promise to post word counts in the comments.  Keep the faith scribblers!


P.S. I have been looking all over for the article I read on Labor Day concerning using your journal entries to kick start writing projects, but I can't lay my hands on it. I want to say it was in a Writer's Digest freebie that I got, but I have, so far, been unable to find it. May post it in comments later.

Some links for your perusal

Sunday, September 2, 2012

This is me every day...


I suffer idea overkill all of the time. I am so glad someone thought enough of it to give writers some ideas to combat it. A thoroughly helpful read.


Hello World!

As a 'computer person' I find it irresistible to begin any new document, project or snippet of code written with the above. It is ingrained into us early on in the examples and object lessons we use to learn from. As such, I find it oddly appropriate for this new space I am creating to host my more literary side. I'll keep personal or miscellaneous posts to the Drivel blog and put those things I find useful to myself, as a person-cursed-with-the-need-to-write, here. :-) I've entitled the blog in a way that describes my constant state of writing or wanting to write. I encourage you to look here often for those things I find useful to myself as I grow my craft. One never knows what there could be out there to help. Having said that, I mainly intend this as a repository for those things I find useful that I don't want to lose in the shuffle between computers, OS, etc. If anyone else ever reads it or not doesn't bother me in the slightest and will, therefore, set the tone of this space as a conversation with myself.

And now for a little bit about me and my scribbling for any that find themselves here by accident or on purpose:

I've been writing for a long time now. There are many things I have done that no longer exist or have been misplaced along the way. I have a messy nature, so I fully expect that to continue for better or worse. My desire to create fictional stories began over twenty years ago. (Gosh, now that I think about it, it is more along the lines of thirty!) I wrote disjointed things that made me laugh or made me think or excited my imagination. I turned in papers in school about things that I wished had happened or had been based on events that had happened, just not in the ways I described. When I reached my teenage years, I threw away or lost a large body of immature work since I was convinced that it would never be of use to me. If I had only known then what I know now. I find myself reusing what I can remember of those stories in the short pieces I write these days. One of the items has turned in to a book length manuscript that is over 60K words in its rough form. I wrote a follow on for it that is roughly the same length. I fully expect that I will complete a first edit before the end of the year that may see that number increase as I flesh out plot and subplot as well as clear up some inconsistency in what I threw on the page. Time will tell. I think it worth saying that I have changed my ways and have been saving the little snippets I create these days. These items encompass the spectrum from song lyrics to full books and everything in between. It seems my writing demon knows no bounds.

Several friends have been interested in my work and continue to provide feedback on my endeavors. One recently asked me if there was any plan to publish, since the normal goal of a writer is to see their work in print. I think that there will be in the future, but I have no current plan to do so. The major works that I have been working on for the last few years will be multi-book series and I have never enjoyed following some author's work only to have the tone or the story change drastically in the middle as a result of their ongoing work in a series. This isn't to say I didn't continue to enjoy the work or that I even stopped reading as a result. It is simply that, these books are the favorites of my writing life. As such, I want them to be consistent and complete before I ever begin working to publish them to the wider world. I know that is incompatible with economics and the sheer amount of time I have spent on them, but (regarding this story line) it is the way I want it to work. I already have several other book manuscripts that threaten to continue in subsequent books. Those I won't have a problem writing as they go. I just have a quirk when it comes to what I have been calling 'Project Angela'.

By way of apology for the lengthy rambling above, and to kick this first post off with some useful information, I shall end with some links to pages I have been reading this morning.