Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cardinals Win!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals, winners of the 2011 World Series.

Special thanks go to the Rally Squirrel too!

Now maybe I can get some writing done tonight!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fan Fiction, Harry Potter, and Me

In my last post, I used the term “fan fiction” and a few of my readers indicated they hadn’t heard that term before, so I thought I’d elaborate a bit.

Fan fiction is fiction based on someone else’s work. Star Trek, Babylon 5, and Harry Potter have inspired legions of viewers/readers to write their own stories using the characters described in the shows/books. It’s one way for fans to hold on to a piece of the world they’ve come to know and love. With the ability to post these stories to the web, fan fiction has exploded over the last two decades. Over at FanFiction, for instance, the number of Harry Potter stories submitted has reached over 500,000!

Since my story takes place in Hogwarts, a location within the world of J.K. Rowling, my current story would also be considered fan fiction, although it’s somewhat atypical in that I do not use any of Rowling’s characters or any of the original storyline. My story is completely new -- partly because I felt the whole Harry Potter saga had come to a end and partly because I didn’t feel comfortable messing around with Rowling’s characters. In fact, the whole reason I started down this road in the first place was because I began wondering how Ms. Rowling might go about writing another book in the series.

Besides, if I don’t use my own characters and storyline, how can I expect to learn anything about writing?


P.P.S Why? I’m originally from the St. Louis area.

P.P.P.S. That last fact didn’t make me too popular in Michigan back in 2006 when the Cardinals spanked the Detroit Tigers in the World Series.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Warm Fuzzies BlogFest entry

Juliana Brandt has invited everyone to share the best response we've ever received after having told someone that we are writers. I don't have any good stories myself; simply because after two and a half years of working on my story, I haven't told more than ten people about it yet. I didn't even tell my wife until after the first year! After all, I already have a job as a research chemist, there are plenty of projects to be done around the house, and my story can't even be published (as it's mostly fan fiction). I'm not sure I could have even explained what I was doing to myself, much less others.

Since then, I've told my sister-in-law, her husband, and several moms in our school district. Not the dads, though. The only guys I've mentioned it to so far are close personal friends. Don't know if I ever told my brother. Why the reluctance with guys? I guess I just feel women will view "writing" more favorably.

Perhaps once I finish my story and move on to my own story worlds, I'll be more willing to admit to my passion for writing fiction.

Then again, maybe I'll wait until I actually publish something first.

Darn insecurities!

Friday, October 21, 2011

On Revising Too Early

Several weeks ago I mentioned how I had stopped working on the current chapter of my first draft to go back and revise some earlier chapters. I know you’re not supposed to do this, but after battling a chapter for a while and not seeing much progress, I find that going back to those earlier chapters (which are usually in much better shape) helps reenergize me again.

The question, of course, is what happens when you go back to an earlier chapter and discover that it’s just as wretched as the chapter you abandoned? So much for reenergizing.

And that’s what I’ve been struggling with the past two weeks. Chapters 10, 11, and 13 were fine. They still need a lot of work, but I could show them to someone and they’d be able to figure out what was going on. Chapters 12 and 14 were steaming piles of crap. It was quite the shock.

Why were these chapters so much worse than I remembered? Simple. Back when I wrote them, I hadn’t yet begun reading about scenes and structure. Now that I’ve read James Scott Bell’s Plot and Structure, along with a good heaping of blog posts on the subject, I realize I have a lot of revising to do.

That’s the problem with learning while you write.

Question: What writing technique have you learned in the middle of a manuscript that made you want to go back and do it all over?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It's My Birthday and I'll Post If I Want To

First off, let me point you to Mel Fowler's blog, which has a great Harry Potter themed video set to Katy Perry's music. Great find, Mel.

As you may (or may not) have noticed, it's been several weeks since I last posted. The reason is simple. I've been spending all my free time on my manuscript.

Why? Because it's October, of course! Halloween (one of my favorite holidays, BTW) is coming up soon, and what more inspirational time of the year can there be to work on a story about Hogwarts? October rules!

So why am I taking up valuable manuscript time to post today? Because it's my birthday (another reason to love October) and I thought I deserved a little time off. Don't worry, I'll get back to working on the WIP tomorrow.

Okay, so I haven't been completely truthful here. I did spend some of my precious time on the social media front. I finally got around to uploading my profile pic to Blogger, Facebook, and Twitter. And if that wasn't enough for you, consider this. After lurking on Twitter for the last year, I tweeted for the very first time a few weeks ago. Yeah, I know. Pretty sad. But it's progress.