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.